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Chinese Language Facts 10 Basic 12 Surprising

ผู้เขียน: ที่มา:ต้นฉบับ วันที่:2023-01-20

Chinese is one of the two world languages with over a billion speakers. It is the most used mother tongue on the planet with overand more learning it as their second (or more) language. Lets take a look at 10 facts you should know about this complicated and very different language.

1. Chinese is the most used mother tongue.

China hasmany minority groupsthat speak their own unique languages and dialects but Mandarin Chinese is still the most used language in China.

While the Internet has sealed the place of English as the most used (second) language, Chinese(Mandarin)still holds the top position as the most used mother tongue. In 2010, the number of Chinese native speakers totaled955 million people. Just think of how many more people youd be able to talk to after learning some Chinese!

Multiple factors blend together into making Chinese one of the hardest languages to learn for native English speakers. With a different writing system, different grammar, and even different pronunciation style and sound, there are not many things English and Chinese have in common.People who wish to study Chinese must put in years of work to reach fluency and even then it is rare to achieve native-like proficiency. Typically, you must learn3,000 charactersin order to be considered fluent enough to read the morning newspaper. However, the language consists of tens of thousands of characters that make ultimate fluency a daunting task.

Further complicating the issue is the fact that the written forms of Chinese words giveno clues on the pronunciationand must be learned separately. With over 67% of the words being made up of two or more characters, you can see how it earns the title as one of the most difficult languages to learn.

Watch morevideos about Chinese culture stories.

There are five traditional forms ofChinese calligraphy:Seal Character, Official Script, Formal Script, Running Script, Formal Script, Running Script, and Cursive Hand. These are considered classical arts and representative of Chinese art styles.

The most popular calligraphy style is the Seal Character style developed by the Han people. It first appeared during theZhou Dynasty(1045 - 221 BC) and is still popular among calligraphy artists today.

Thanks to its unique sound system, Chinese is filled with similar sounding words. This makes it quite difficult for non-native speakers to differentiate between words and sound combinations. When you add in the tones we will discuss below, it adds up to make Chinese one of the most difficult languages to listen to and understand. Since we have not been exposed to these similar sounds, it is often impossible for English speakers to pick out the differences.

Reminiscent of hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt, Chinese isthe only extant pictographic language.

The Chinese language was developed using images, which means in its simplest form it resembles a game of Pictionary. Many (not all) of the Chinese characters we use today come from ancient drawings of the items they are meant to describe. This can be very helpful for those learning Chinese for the first time. A common example is the word for mountain shan, . The three points of the character are meant to resemble the three peaks of a mountain ridge.

While most of us in the West have a hard time recognizing the handwriting on our prescriptions, the Chinese struggle with handwriting in almost every situation. This is due to the large variation in writing styles and the changes that occur between typed text and handwritten characters.

For example, the most used character (de, ) has a very neat structure when typed here but becomes almost unrecognizable (a couple of loops) when scrawled at speed by native speakers of Chinese. Because we learn from books where clearly fonted text is used, making the transition to reading handwritten Chinese is incredibly difficult for language learners.

The origin of Chinese comes from the discovery of the famousOracle Bonesand what is believed to be the earliest samplings of Chinese script. These bones date from theShang Dynasty(1600-1046 BCE). With such a rich history, Chinese has obviously undergone many changes and influences due to wars and cultural shifts. However, the language has taken these all in stride and continued to grow.

If you are an English speaker first learning Chinese, the most difficult part may very well be thefive tones. Since Chinese is a tonal language, the meaning of your words can change drastically based on the tone you use to pronounce them.

For example, the syllablemacan have multiple different meanings depending on whether you speak it using the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth (neutral) tone: m m m m ma. This can cause some serious errors for Chinese learners. You dont want to slip up and call your mother (, m) a horse (, m).

Chinese characters are mostly made up ofbuilding blocks called radicals, which have 1 to 17 strokes. Radicals and strokes must be written in order: usuallyleft to right and top to bottom.

For example:In the character for feeling , there are three radicals:1) heart, 2) plentiful , and 3) moon.  Changing the first radical in makes different words like (to ask) or (clear).

The Chinese governmentsimplified Chinese charactersshortly after the beginning of the Peoples Republic era (1949), reducing strokes per character by an average of around 33%. Traditional characters are still used for ceremonial wording in Chinese mainland, and are still standard in Hong Kong and Taiwan. E.g., simplified (10 strokes) is from traditional  (15 strokes).

When youre walking around China, you might be surprised at the amount of words youre able to pick up quickly. Thanks to an increase in exposure to Western culture, Chinese has manyloanwords, or words borrowed from English, in use today. Some examples include: kafei ( /kaa-fay/) = coffee, shafa ( /shaa-faa/) = sofa, and qiaokeli ( /chyaow-ker-lee/) = chocolate.

The worlds most natively-spoken language, Chinese, still remains a mystery to the West. When learning a little more than Nihao! one begins to discover the oddities hidden within this ancient language: what makes it practical, what makes it poetic, and what makes it intriguing.

1. Ancient Chinese characters were used 3,000 years ago.

Chinese has become more angular over the millennia: for example (sun) once was a circle with a dot in the middle.

How do we know what ancient Chinese looked like? Surprisingly, the best evidencecomes from millennia old carvings onoracle bonesonce used in practicing divination.

Interested in seeing oracle bones in person? SeeThe Museum of Chinese Writing in Anyang.

Some believe that the people of China may be the fated lost tribe of Israel based onBiblical narratives in some Chinese characters. While the critics are more than just a few, the analysis does provide an interesting theory.

For example:Does the garden character () refer to the Garden of Eden two () people () in an enclosure ()?

Japan adopted Chinese in their writing system because they needed a written language, and similar usage made its way to other bordering countries like pre-colonial Vietnam as well as historic Korea.

We generally take Chinese to be synonymous with Mandarin, but Mandarin is one of hundreds ofChinese languagesstill actively spoken in China. Chances are, that unless a person comes from Beijing, they speak at least one other dialect.

5. How is Chinese written? Every stroke in sequence.

Chinese is traditionally written top to bottom in columns, and from right to left avoiding wet ink was a challenge for right handers!

Chinese writing has a prescribed stroke order, usually working left to right and top to bottom. There are twenty-plus types of strokes and 1 to 64 strokes are needed to make up a Chinese character. Each stroke must be written correctly and in order for recognition on character writing software.

For example, for you cant just draw a square with one stroke: you must start with a down stroke on the left, then a left-to-right-and-down stroke for the top and right sides, then a left-to-right stroke at the bottom.

Like the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious of the Mandarin world,biangis an unofficial character. Not only does the dizzying number of strokes dwarf just about any other,biangneeds to be written twice! The word occurs in the famous Shaanxi regionbiangbiang noodle dish(bingbing min).Biangis an onomatopoeia for the sound of noodles slapping against the chefs table.

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