Still, it also refers to many languages and dialects spoken throughout China and the world. Sinitic is another name of Chinese languages and it is a sub-family of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is not a single language but rather several related dialect groups united by a common written language, a standard writing system. All Chinese languages are tonal, meaning the tone you use defines what you are saying. You say it if you change the style, the context, and the sense of the word commutes.
The history of Chinese languages:
Around 4000 BCE, the Sinitic languages or the Chinese languages that existed developed from Proto-Sino-Tibetan. From around 1250 BCE belonged the first written examples of Chinese. A more recognizable form of Old Chinese developed during the Zhou dynasty between 1046 and 256BC. It is present on bronze carving from that period and in some literature, like ‘classic of poetry.’ The common view is that the Chinese had not yet developed tones during this time.
Varieties of Chinese:
People often refer to the standard language as mandarin as it is based on the Mandarin dialect of Beijing. Still, to be precise, the word Mandarin refers to a range of northern dialects. Mandarin, or the standard Chinese, now fulfills the role that classical Chinese used as the official written language used by speakers of all varieties of Chinese for most purposes.
The Chinese writing system:
This has led to a common misapprehension that all Chinese languages are identical except for their pronunciation. The fact is that Chinese languages often differ in grammar and vocabulary as well as pronunciation. Most of the characters used are alike. The order of the characters might be separate to define different syntax.
Countries with most Chinese speakers:
More than 1.3 billion native speakers of Chinese are present if we include all its varieties. Mandarin, also called standard Chinese, is the official language of the Republic of China and some other countries. It is also one of the four official languages of Singapore. Many diaspora communities throughout Asia, like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, and different communities worldwide also speak in the Chinese language.
Due to the long history of Chinese populations there, a rich fusion of Chinese and Southeast Asian culture has developed in nations like Malaysia and Singapore.
As you can see, Chinese is a large and diverse group of languages and not a single language. Many Chinese populations abroad still speak their native tongues alongside Mandarin, such as Hokkien or Cantonese. Therefore, if you decide to study here, you may have more opportunities to pick up non-Mandarin Chinese languages.
You could notice that the local accents and learning approaches are different from those in China. You might learn authentic Chinese characters rather than simplified ones!
The Chinese diaspora and the Chinese-speaking community worldwide have worked hard to develop possibilities for students to study Chinese outside of Asia, even as far away as the US!
Learn Chinese anywhere!
Outside of China, there are numerous locations where learning Chinese is feasible and a fantastic opportunity! You can immerse yourself in the Chinese language and culture in Taiwan or Singapore. Or learn Mandarin in Malaysia’s or the US’s broad cultural melting pot. Even though students cannot cross the border into mainland China, learning in one of these places can be an excellent investment.
Outside of mainland China, you may have a better chance of learning the Chinese language other than Mandarin. Today, the most common dialect of Chinese is Putonghua, a dialect of Mandarin Chinese. You will study Mandarin Chinese written in the Simplified script in the PRC. There may be more options to learn Traditional Chinese or a non-Mandarin language, such as Cantonese, Taiwanese, Hokkien, or Hakka, outside of China.
It will undoubtedly be simpler to integrate if you study in a nation where many people speak Chinese as their first language. But if you work hard at your studies, you can learn Chinese at a high level from anywhere in the world.