Chinese Dialects

For thousands of years, Chinese people speak in hundreds of different dialects but use only one script, Han Characters (汉字), which makes the written communication and culture inheritance possible. The separation of the written and spoken forms of the Chinese language provides a tie that holds the Chinese people together while gives space for localized expressions in daily lives.

8 Major Chinese dialects

The following is a brief overview of today’s major Chinese dialects:

1, Northern Dialect (also called Mandarin)

The official tongue of China, mainly based on the Beijing dialect.

2, Jiangsu Dialect (also called Wu Dialect)

Mainly based on the Suzhou dialect, which in a way is closer to the ancient official tongue, particularly during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), which was the most economically, culturally and intellectually developed period in Chinese history with the vast volume of written materials produced during that time. Jiangsu Dialect again branches into many different sub-dialects, and the Shanghai dialect is one of them.

3, Anhui Dialect (also called Hui Dialect)

Mainly used by people in Anhui province.

4, Jiangxi Dialect (also called Gang Dialect)

Mainly used by people in Jianxi Province.

5, Hunan Dialect (also called Xiang Dialect)

Mainly used by people in Hunan Province

6, Fujian Dialect (also called Minnan Dialect)

Mainly sued by people in Fujian and Taiwan Provinces

7, Kejia Dialect

Mainly ethnically based (by Kejia ethnic people). Kejia people were originally northern Han Chinese fleeing Mongol/Manchu’s occupation and resettled in the south thus this dialect reserves a large proportion of ancient Chinese tongue. People spoken this dialect can be found in Fujian and other southern Chinese provinces, as well as in Malaysia.

8, Cantonese

Mainly used by people in Guangdong Province and Hong Kong.

Let’s Learn Chinese Dialects

In 2020, a Metal Rat year, five drunken rats decided to form a Neo Eight Nation Alliance in the commemoration of the original Eight-Nation Alliance’s invasion of China in a previous Metal Rat year 120 years ago. They sail their gunboats to the South China Sea and shout out their challenge at a cat squatting on the shore guarding the land. “Hi, dude, know what, we’re here to stay. Fancy you’re a cat, eh? Come and try us!”

The following are 8 different ways of saying that in the scenario that the daring rats are multi-Chinese dialect geniuses.

Manderin:

今天我就站在这里了, 别看你个头不小, 你敢动我一下试试!

Beijing Dialect:

今儿爷就站这儿了, 别看你丫个儿不小, 丫你动我一试试!

Tianjing Dialect:

近儿我奏賛届咳儿了, 甭看你葛大, 你动我一四四!

Shandong Dialect:

今日老子倭就站者尼, 甭看尼长地镐, 尼敢招呼倭使使!

Shaanxi Dialect:

今儿鄂奏立到这儿, 保看你娃陪瓜子美, 你娃把鄂动嘎子!

Sichuan Dialect:

今天老子就站到这堂沟, 不要以为你长得莽戳戳的, 你碰哈我告一哈!

Shanghai Dialect:

今早我就列了个搭, 弗要可侬模子嘎笃哦, 侬傍傍我似似可诺!

Suzhou Dialect:

今哉偶具登了该笃, 覅可乃长得结棍, 乃啊要傍傍偶似似可哪!

2 comments

  • Anonymous

    what dialect is common to Guangxi? I see part of Gunagxi on the bottom left as light orange

    • Historically, Guangxi were and, to a large extent, still are home to a numerous ethnic minority people whose spoken language could not be considered as Chinese dialects but different languages.

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