Many of our students, before they set off to learn this challenging language, have a common question: Which one should I learn, mandarin or Chinese?
Before we give the answer, we first need to know what mandarin is. The English word “mandarin” is called “普通话(pǔ tōnɡ huà)” or the “common speech” in Chinese. As the official language of China, mandarin is spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. We can simply understand it as “standard Chinese”.
Chinese (中文 – zhōngwén), which includes both standard Chinese and dialects, refers to the general Chinese language. Because Chinese is mostly spoken by the Han majority, it is also called “汉语 (hànyǔ)”. Chinese is not only used and spoken in mainland China, but in many other regions such as HongKong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and other areas where Chinese people live.
China is a big country with 9.6 million square kilometers. In different parts of China, people speak different dialects. Now let’s take a look at the major dialects in Chinese language.
东北话(dōnɡběi huà) Northeast Dialect – spoken in Heilongjiang, Jinlin, Liaoning Provinces
北京话(běijīnɡ huà) Beijing Dialect – spoken in Beijing
广东话(ɡuǎnɡ dōnɡ huà) Cantonese – spoken in Guangdong Province, Hongkong, Macau, etc.
陕西话(shǎnxī huà) Shaanxi Dialect – spoken in Shaanxi Province
台湾话(táiwān huà) Taiwanese – spoken in Taiwan
Now did you find the answer to that question? Which “language” do you want to learn?