Mandarin language resources
Mandarin is spoken on a daily basis in: New Zealand, China
Additional background on
This article is on all of the Northern Chinese dialects. For the standardized official spoken Chinese language (Putonghua/Guoyu), see Standard Mandarin.
Mandarin, or Beifanghua (Simplified Chinese: ???, Traditional Chinese: ???; pinyin: Beifanghuà; literally "Northern Dialect(s)"), or Guanhua (Traditional Chinese: ??, Simplified Chinese: ??; pinyin: Guanhuà; literally "speech of officials"), or Mandarin Chinese is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. When taken as a separate language, as is often done in academic literature, the Mandarin dialects have more speakers than any other language.
In English, Mandarin can refer to two distinct concepts:
to Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu/Huayu), which is based on the particular Mandarin dialect spoken in Beijing. Standard Mandarin functions as the official spoken language of the People's Republic of China, the official language of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the four official languages of Singapore. "Chinese" — in practice Standard Mandarin — is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. This standardized version of Mandarin is dealt with in the article Standard Mandarin. to all of the Mandarin dialects spoken in northern and southwestern China. This group of dialects is the focus of this article.
In everyday use, "Mandarin" refers usually to just Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu). In its broader sense, Mandarin is a diverse group of related dialects, some less mutually intelligible than others. It is a grouping defined and used mainly by linguists, and is not commonly used outside of academic circles as a self-description. Instead, when asked to describe the spoken form they are using, Chinese speaking a form of non-Standard Mandarin will describe the variant that they are speaking, for example Sichuan dialect or Northeast China dialect, and consider it distinct from "[Standard] Mandarin"; they may not recognize that it is in fact classified by linguists as a form of "Mandarin" in a broader sense. Nor is there a common "Mandarin" identity based on language; rather, there are strong regional identities centered on individual dialects, because of the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of its speakers.
Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is significant dispute as to whether Mandarin is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for more on this issue.
What are the most spoken languages on earth?
All data is derived from UNESCO.