The Chinese Language


The Chinese language is thought to belong to the Sino-Tibetan classification of languages. Within this group is the Sinitic branch (i.e. Chinese and others) and the Tibeto-Burman branch. We are concerned only with the languages that are Chinese.

Within Chinese, exists several mutually unintelligible spoken forms which have been called "dialects", though to be more precise, they are languages in their own right. However, 'dialects' is as good a word as any, because it shows that the languages of Chinese are somehow related.

Its is always good to begin by acquainting ourselves geographically, with the a map of China, and its many provinces. It will be seen that the dialects (apart from Hakka) are traditionally associated in name by the geographical location.

Chinese Dialects

Chinese today is thought to have seven major dialect groups. Click on the following links for more information about the phonology of a representative of each group. The IPA symbols were created by the author and appear as gif images.


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© Dylan W.H. Sung 1999 onwards.
This page was first created on Friday 30th July 1999,
and was recently updated on Thursday 25th April 2002.

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