Different Chinese Dialects and Their Cities

China’s Languages
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When humans come together to live in a society, a beautiful thing called culture is born. The best thing about cultures is the diversity. A single culture may have various branches depending on the area where it is being practiced. The citizens of each state can be seen practicing different types of cultures in their cities but they still manage to be a part of the national picture. This way cultures are integrated to form a nation’s way of living. No two people are the same way, their personalities, the way they live, even the way they comb their hair, are different from each other. But these differences are what brings us together. None of us would have tried to learn about others if we were all the same. Studying the differences between humans, whether it is apparent in the lives of two people, or in the cultural values of a society, is quite fascinating.

Everything about us and our societies have various types. All the things can be divided in their different varieties and studied to learn more about the people who practice those differences. Take languages, for instance. The differences between them tell us a lot about their speakers and the regions where they are spoken. Who knows how many vernaculars have still not been discovered by us? People living in remote areas have their own customs that no outsider knows about. The same can be true for their tongues.

When it comes to dialects, a few people can speak theirs fluently but don’t know their country’s official tongue. Others learn both so they don’t have any problem when they travel to other cities of their country and can get their point across to people.

Different Chinese Dialects

China’s Languages:

With a population of nearly 1.5 billion, China is the world’s most populated country. Housing the most people within its borders give China a certain power. The numbers show that China can provide a peaceful environment to over a billion people. The country also has a high Human Development Index which means that its citizens get to live a good life. The education system is good and the opportunities to work at best companies are plenty.

chinese dialects

However, when you put fifteen people in a room for a few days, you will see them picking up each other’s habits. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a country of 1.43 billion people celebrates all kinds of festivals. Differences can be seen in the spoken tongues from region to region, and sometimes even from city to city. But the Standard Chinese, is the one that enjoys official status. It is divided in various dialects and varieties and these types are in use all over the country. There are provinces where different varieties of Chinese are the lingua franca. Cantonese is an example of that.

  • How many different languages are spoken in China?

    Various Chinese languages are spoken in China including Mandarin and Cantonese. Other than that, approximately 300 minority languages are also spoken in the country. But Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Korean, Mongolian, Tibetan, Zhuang, and Uyghur are more popular than other languages.

  • What are the top 3 languages spoken in china?

    The three most spoken languages in China are:

    1. Mandarin, which is also known as Standard Chinese and is spoken by nearly a billion people.
    2. Cantonese, which is also known as Yue Chinese and is the official language of Hong Kong and Macau.
    3. Shanghainese, which is a variety of Wu Chinese and is spoken in the City of Shanghai.
  • What are the 8 languages spoken in china?

    More than 300 languages are spoken in China. But the most popular languages are Mandarin and Cantonese. However, the country has eight dialect groups, which are:
    1. Putonghua, the group which Mandarin falls under
    2. Yue, the group of Cantonese
    3. Wu, the group of Shanghainese
    4. Minbei
    5. Minnan
    6. Xiang
    7. Gan
    8. Hakka

  • Why does China have two languages?

    China is a multiethnic and multilingual country. It has more than 300 languages. However, two of them are more popular than the others. Mandarin is the variety of Chinese which is spoken by the majority and is also recognized by the state as the official language. Cantonese is the second most popular language in China and is the official language in Hong Kong.

  • How many different Chinese dialects are there?

    There are eight different Chinese dialect groups. The exact number of the dialects is not known. The groups are:
    1. Putonghua, the group of Mandarin
    2. Yue, the group which Cantonese falls under
    3. Wu, Shanghainese’s group
    4. Minbei, the group of Fuzhou
    5. Minnan
    6. Xiang
    7. Gan
    8. Hakka

  • What are the main Chinese dialects?

    Chinese has eight different dialect groups and hundreds of dialects in total. But the popular dialects are a few in number. The most popular is Mandarin, which is spoken by nearly a billion people. Cantonese is also a popular dialect of Chinese and falls under the Yue group. It is primarily spoken in Hong Kong.

  • Are Chinese dialects different languages?

    Although the Chinese dialects have the same origins, they are very different from each other. The differences between are often compared to the differences between English, German, and Dutch. However, they are not separate languages. They belong to different Chinese dialect groups and therefore, they are considered dialects, not different languages.

  • What are the top 3 languages spoken in China?

    China is home to more than 300 languages. But a few of them are more popular than the others. The top three languages spoken in China are:

    1. Mandarin, which is also the official language of the country,
    2. Cantonese, which enjoys official status in Hong Kong, and
    3. Shanghainese, which is spoken in the City of Shanghai and its surrounding areas.

Different Chinese Dialects and Their Cities:


Did you know that Mandarin itself is a variety of Chinese? Well, now you do! Although there are seven main groups of Chinese, when counted according to different regions, there are over 200 dialects. An overwhelming majority of these are mutually intelligible. Here are a few of those two hundred varieties of Chinese:

  1. Pekingese:

This dialect of Mandarin has been influenced by Mongolian and Manchu vernaculars. Pekingese acted as the phonological basis of China’s official language, the Standard Chinese. But despite sharing a lot of similarities, Pekingese also has some major differences with Standard Chinese.

Due to Beijing’s historical significance, a lot of importance is attached to Pekingese. However, the accents differ even within the city. The educated class and the elite speak a more refined version of it. Pekingese itself is only spoken in the developed areas of the city. Some linguists think that Pekingese is going to become a dead language in the future. The reason behind that is the younger generations in Beijing prefer to speak the official tongue over Pekingese.

  1. Shanghainese:

This variety of Wu Chinese has between ten to fourteen million native speakers and is spoken in certain areas of Shanghai. It is quite different from Mandarin and the speaker of the two will not be able to carry out a conversation. In the region of Yangtze River Delta, Shanghainese is the lingua franca. It is one of the few varieties of Chinese to have voiced initials. It also has plenty of vowels. Shanghainese, however, do share some similarities with the Japanese pitch accent. This is what gave birth to the idea that Chinese and Japanese share features.

  1. Suzhounese:

This Wu dialect is spoken in the city of Suzhou and has almost seven million native speakers. The Suzhou tongue has retained some features of the Middle Chinese, which is why it is considered a conservative vernacular. Unlike other tongues of the country, Suzhou is mutually intelligible with the vernaculars spoken in its surrounding areas. It also shares a few similarities with other Wu tongues. However, it does not have the same connection with Cantonese. It has seven different tones.

China has a lot of dialects to be studied in one sitting, however, that hasn’t stopped linguists from reading about them. One interest thing about Chinese and its types is that plenty of them have been divided into further varieties. But if someone wants to learn Chinese, they should go for Mandarin as that is the safest option. But if they need translation of a Chinese document, they should get in touch with a translator who knows the dialect and can interpret it accurately.

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