The Mandarin Language
Diverse, yet beautiful, the Mandarin language is the official language of not only China, but also many other Chinese-speaking countries. Since the Mandarin language consists of thousands of Chinese characters, PinYin (the romanization of the Mandarin language) has become crucial to those learning to speak Mandarin. Yet, it is the tones of the Mandarin language that usually take the beginner by surprise. With four distinct tones (and one neutral tone), speaking Mandarin can be considered rather easy in comparison to some of the other, more challenging Chinese languages.
The Mandarin Language: Its Name
Since the Mandarin language can be called by so many different names,
you are pretty much free to choose the way you want to say the name of the Mandarin language. As a guideline, though, you’ll find that “zhōng wén” really refers more to the written language while “pú tōng huà” gives the sense of the spoken Mandarin Chinese language. Still, you’ll find that many use all three of these names for the Mandarin language relatively interchangeably.
You many have noticed that the Chinese characters for
- “zhōng wén” are said with a level, first tone and then followed by a rising second tone.
- “hàn yŭ” are said with a falling fourth tone, but then followed by a falling and rising third tone.
- “pú tōng huà” are said with a rising second tone, level first tone, and concludes with a falling fourth tone.
In the end, I found that personally that “pú tōng huà” was the easiest of all of the phrases to pronounce when I first began learning Chinese, now quite some time ago. This phrase rolls off your tongue rather easily due to the way that the tones are arranged! Yet, you may find one of the other phrases easier for you or more to your liking.
The Mandarin Language: Its Possibilities
Mandarin Chinese is an extremely practical language–not only due to the structure of the Mandarin language itself, but also due to its practicality in speaking to people all over the world! When I look at the facts, there is no denying that the Mandarin language could potentially be the next world language.
- There are currently more than one billion people in the world who speak the Mandarin language.
- In order to communicate with Chinese speakers, keep in mind that 90% will understand Mandarin Chinese since Mandarin became the official language of China in 1955.
- Since the Chinese market has been virtually untapped by foreign influences in the past, it will be those who understand the language and culture who will best be able to reach this market.