Talk:Chinese language

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Former featured article candidate Chinese language is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 19, 2004 Refreshing brilliant prose Not kept
July 24, 2004 Featured article candidate Not promoted
April 28, 2005 Peer review Reviewed
Current status: Former featured article candidate

Move Proposal[edit]

Per Wikipedia:Naming_conventions#Languages.2C_both_natural_and_programming I propose we move this page to Chinese Languages. Readin (talk) 09:11, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree and support the idea; see also bottom of talk page at "Cannot be one language" --MarsmanRom (talk) 15:35, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
I also agree. In any case, the lede should be reformulated so that it does not sound like it is self-contradictory or waffling. In particular, the locution "varieties of Chinese" sounds like it was made up especially for this one situation (this particular language group) purely in order to avoid taking a position.
I was particularly impressed by the discussion at Serbo-Croatian, where Wikipedians have supported (through citations) a very clear line that there is only one language, in spite of political considerations. It would be nice if the matter were handled as crisply here, albeit in the opposite direction. (talk) 23:40, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

I changed "New words" to "Loanwords"[edit]

I changed "New words" to "Loanwords" because some of the so-called "new words" are two thousand years old! BettyJJ (talk) 09:04, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Request for more info in the article[edit]

"Foreign words continue to enter the Chinese language by transcription according to their pronunciations. This is done by employing Chinese characters with similar pronunciations."

In cases where there is no attempt to match meaning (which is dicussed later in the article), how is it determined which characters are chosen? Is there a set "alphabet" of characters that are always used, or is the choice arbitrary? How is a "colouring" of the meaning of imported word by the literal meaning of the characters avoided?


Just came here from the front page, and am very confused by the parenthesised list in the first paragraph. What is this list and why does for example a wikilinked 'Simplified Chinese' appear multiple times? If it's the equivalent of 'Sinitic Language' in examples of those languages then it is a) not clear and b) not very useful to an english speaker. Move to later in the article? (talk) 14:55, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

Dispute about the wording about "fangyan"[edit]

 "it is common for the government to refer to all divisions of the 
 Sinitic language(s) beside Standard Mandarin as fangyan 
 (“regional tongues”, often translated as “dialects”). "

I take the statement in parentheses above incorrect - "fangyan" is actually the direct equivalent of the English word "dialect" in Chinese(go to the Dialect article on en.wp, click on the Chinese version link and it gets you to the "fangyan" article on zh.wp), instead of "translated as", which sounds misleading to me. In fact, "regional tongues" is transliteration("fang","regional", and "yan", "speech/language/tongue").

"("dialects", literally "regional tongues")" would probably sound better. Blodance (talk) 06:55, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

    • Just because the articles translate this way doesn't constitute the meaning to be directly related. Taking the words themselves, fang yan really means "regional verse". Of course, "regional verse" basically translates to dialect, but doesn't have to be the case by English custom. For instance, Shanghainese is a dialect, but it is technically one of the Wu regional dialects or regional verses, which also includes Ningbo and Wenzhou dialects. Kou Ying might be closer, but this is dangerous because Kou ying in Chinese can also mean accent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:42, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Hey I think that Chinese isn't a language at all, it's just a writing system and even then it's split into traditional and simplified. If they are to be considered the same language, they must have some mutual intelligibility. Take my friend who is forced to use English in Mainland China (except Guangdong, so obviously he speaks Cantonese but not Mandarin)...he can only read/write in Traditional and has no knowledge of Simplified (can't even read), his Mandarin is next to useless. Anyway Ethologue already classifies the "dialects" (not really dialects) of Chinese as different languages, it's basically calling English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Catalan, Dutch etc "dialects" of Latin because they use the Latin alphabet!!! Ridiculous.I would assume when it comes to linguistic matters ethologue would be sourced above all...what do you guys think?

Obviously you have no knowledge of Chinese. Cantonese and Mandarin are same language, but different pronunciation, you could use the word "accent" to describe the situation. its like the English spoken by Indian, which is very hard for the British to understand. I agree some of the dialects are more like an independent language, but not a single dialect have enough differences to form an independent language. vocabulary and grammar between these dialects only varies little, in comparison with the Romance languages, which have very much different grammar and vocabulary. you can't just judge language by the sound. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:45, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Actually, one should have knowledge of Chinese and linguistics. Then it becomes clear that the Chinese languages really are quite different from one another, much more different than you are claiming. Linguists compare the differences within the Chinese language family to the differences in the Romance language family, which is much larger than the relatively trivial differences between British English versus Indian English. Of course, linguists can look beyond superficial differences, that's their stock-in-trade, but they also know how to measure the differences systematically. And of course the experts who make these judgements know several Chinese languages, not just one. (talk) 00:20, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Verbal communication preceeded written communication. As such, writing should not be confused with an orally transmitted means of communication. Mutual intelligibility of spoken communication means that both the speaker and the listener has a reasonable idea about what the other is speaking of. Consider if you will two old ladies from the same community, they have the same speech, they have similar backgrounds, lets say they are illiterate, poor and cannot afford television or radio, and they are also not bombarded by the words of national broadcasts in the country's official language. These two ladies would be speaking and understanding each other without any problems. Suppose we take one of these old ladies to meet someone of a similar socio-economic background but who speech is very different and lives on the other side of the country, many thousands of miles apart. As each old lady from different far flung areas have never been exposed to the other's speech, they will not understand each other. Now, if you then choose two literate old ladies from the same socio-economic background but living thousands of miles apart, and they are educated with the country's national language, then they will write in the standard language, and communicate thus.
Back in the renaissance, scholars in Europe used Latin as their lingua franca even though their native speech maybe different to readers in another country.
In China, Guangzhou in southern China is several thousand miles away from Peking/Beijing in the north-east. Native speakers in each area will communicate with their own local people in the local speech. However, nowadays, with education, everyone of a certain age will be conversant with the national language. To communicate they would switch to using putonghua. Even though putonghua is based upon the sounds of Beijing, Beijing speech is rich in local idioms, differences in vocabulary and other eccentricities that mark it as being different to the national standardised language. Cantonese inventory of sounds differ to that found in Beijing and hence Putonghua. Were the two illerate old ladies from Guangzhou and Beijing respectively who write to each other, they would know a common form of writing to understand each other, even if the written characters are read locally in different ways - this relies on reading, not spoken communication. But if the standard language to frame the conversation but each were speaking in their native local speech rather than in the sounds of putonghua, there is a reduced chance of inteligibility based on the pronunication difference of each speaker's sounds. This mutual intellegibility problem marks the two speech forms as different languages.
Writing characters which can be pronounced in different local pronunciations as a test of whether they are 'dialects' or 'language' fails as human language is first and foremost a spoken form of communication. If you're resorting to having to learn a standard language which is different in syntax, vocabulary, and grammar from your local colloquial speech, then it is like learning a different language altogether. Often cited, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish share a high degree of mutual intelligibility. They ought to be termed dialects, but for geopolitical reasons (country and sovereignty issues) they're all different so called languages. Chinese languages differ more greatly than the scandinavian case, but consigned to realm of being dialects for whatever reason.... Dylanwhs (talk) 00:54, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
mutually intelligible or mutually unintelligible? At present, your opening two paragraphs give both and therefore contradict one another. Please re-draft in a way that is as accurate as possible. (talk) 18:16, 27 March 2012 (UTC)
I agree that Dylanwhs is coming out swinging but he's right -- linguists use spoken language, not written language, as the criterion, and his discussion of the reasons why is quite vivid and convincing, at least to me. (talk) 00:20, 26 November 2014 (UTC)

Origin of writing system[edit]

I just read something that said the writing system developed along the rebus principle ("The Languages of China" by Robert Ramsey), if anyone knows if this is generally accepted by linguists something should be added to the article. Historian932 (talk) 16:48, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

The origins of "ketchup"[edit]

I always thought it was from Cantonese 茄汁 "ke2 zap1/7".

Any sources to prove this or the Minnan one?

Micro01 (talk) 23:57, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Wiktionary says it's both... -- (talk) 17:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

"A" vs. "the"[edit]

I changed "The" standardized form of spoken Chinese to "a" standardized form of spoken Chinese. In the lede section, third paragraph. Does the consensus of editors on this article have an argument for why it is "the" standardized form rather than "a" standardized form? If we want to say it is "the" standardized form we should include in the same sentence the government(s) that recognize it as a standardized form otherwise the definitive article doesn't make sense. What about Standard Cantonese and the standardized forms of Minnan, Shanghainese, etc. which by now have many textbooks and dictionaries written about them...? --达伟 (talk) 18:26, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Though Minnan, Shanghainese, other Chinese languages' dialects, etc. have gone into many books, the government does not officially standardize their phonology and grammar and such, and neither does any politically recognized organization. Lack of a standard character set for writing and Mandarin promotion are major obstacles of their standardization, I believe. Micro01 (talk) 22:48, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps this could be avoided entirely by changing it to "the standardized form of spoken Mandarin" which would be both more accurate and more neutral. (talk) 05:22, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Number of speakers for each dialect[edit]

The number of speakers for each dialect in the introduction does not at all match the listing in the table further on in the article.

For example, it says at the beginning there are about 850 million Mandarin speakers, and later it says there are well over a billion. (talk) 18:18, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

There's a difference between ""first language"/native speakers, and total speakers.--TheLeopard (talk) 07:44, 18 July 2010 (UTC)
Still, this figure does not seem right. Not just the dialects, but all of them as a whole. How can there be 1.3 billion people living in China and then 1.3 billion speakers total? I would say there's slightly more, when you weigh in the Overseas Chinese communities. Dasani 06:09, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
No because you also need to figure in the Tai languages, Tibetan and Mongolian and a few others. Munci (talk) 04:58, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

WP:WikiProject Cryptozoology[edit]

We need someone to translate the above Project into Chinese. Is there any interest in this or is it too Fringe amongst the community?

"To lie" changed to "To be lying down"[edit]

In the vocab compariaon section the English phrase is vague as 'to lie' could be "to tell a falsehood" or "to be laying down horizonatally", I've changed the entry as above. Dylanwhs (talk) 23:59, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

ากธ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Suggested removal of diagram[edit]

Sino-Tibetan language family

"Primarily based on Graham Thurgood, Randy J. LaPolla (2003) The Sino-Tibetan Languages"

Primarily based on... this ought to be removed as it seems to be original research material, as no such representation is shown in Thurgood's book. Besides, there are regular correspondences in the phonological change of Hakka from Middle Chinese, so separating it from the line of descent is incorrect. Dylanwhs (talk) 14:26, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

It doesn't correspond to the textual account of Sino-Tibetan classification in that book either. I've removed it. Kanguole 13:42, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Chinese loaning to Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese?[edit]

Languages within the influence of Chinese culture also have a very large number of loanwords from Chinese. Fifty percent or more of Korean vocabulary is of Chinese origin, likewise for a significant percentage of Japanese and Vietnamese vocabulary. Chinese has also lent a great deal of many grammatical features to these and neighboring languages, notably the lack of gender and the use of classifiers.[citation needed]

I doubt this statement. Yes, while some Vietnamese words sound pretty close to certain dialects (particularly the easier ones or transliterations), and Japanese still uses Chinese characters, I don't see it likely that the figure is as high as "50% or more". Korean, maybe, due to the geographical proximity to China. But why is there no source for this? It's quite a large claim. If no one finds it within a week, I'm removing it. Estheroliver (talk) 18:49, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Forgot to add: if it truly were that high, a lot more Chinese people would be able to understand (or at least partially) what the other three were saying. Each of these languages is totally separate as to the point where even the few "borrowed words" I've seen and heard are pronounced in various ways, differing from Chinese both slightly and significantly. I think it's a regional thing, but they're not as similar as the article makes it out to be. They are not mutually intelligible at all on their own; instead, to be able to understand and speak it requires serious academic study. Looking at the list of references, it smartly omits to provide any for the last two paragraphs of the section. Estheroliver (talk) 18:52, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

See Sino-Japanese vocabulary and Sino-Korean vocabulary. The lack of mutual intelligibility does not necessarily imply the absence of borrowing, and in fact extensive borrowing had occurred and the separate and pervasive sound changes and phonological adaptations upon lexical importation had changed Korean, Japanese (and Mandarin) into almost completely unintelligible languages with modern Chinese, whereas Vietnamese on the other hand has preserved the Middle Chinese pronunciations of loanwords quite well and the meaning of Vietnamese when spoken (especially Vietnamese news) is to some extent guessable by Cantonese speakers. (talk) 09:07, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Vietnamese are guessable by Cantonese speakers, that is because Cantonese is part of the Hundred Việt (Baiyue) language. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 9 June 2011 (UTC)

Also note that it says 50% of vocabulary, not of words in daily usage, which makes a huge difference. Generally, it is the more technical nouns and adjectives that are borrowed, while the original verbs and connectives are maintained. So if you hear a Japanese person speak, perhaps less than 5% of it consists of Chinese-originated vocabulary.
I should also note that the Chinese borrowed a lot of terms from Japanese while vernacular Chinese was being developed. Often it is not easy to tell for a particular word whether the Chinese borrowed it from the Japanese or vice versa. Educatedseacucumber (talk) 09:06, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

See East Asian languages which is about these topics. The vocabulary figures are correct and no different from Latin/French vocabulary in English. The lack of gender is not a recent borrowing - no languages in East, Southeast, or North Asia have gender and this apparently has been an areal feature for a long time. --JWB (talk) 04:11, 1 January 2012 (UTC)


You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Rosie O'Donnell#Does the "Chinese language parody" merit inclusion or not?. RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 21:24, 19 April 2011 (UTC) (Using {{pls}})

Cannot be one language[edit]

Chinese is a group of languages, like Romance languages. It cannot be regarded as a single language when its "dialects" are mutually unintelligible, and differ greatly. There must be some unbiased scientific research into this topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:55, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

From what I understand, most linguists are uncomfortable with the idea of Chinese being categorized as one language, but this is the norm for historical and cultural reasons. I would be glad if more people start referring to "the Chinese languages" rather than "the Chinese Language", but I don't see this happening soon. Educatedseacucumber (talk) 09:02, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
there are still plenty of reputable sources referring to the "chinese language" for various purposes, and plenty of those are linguists. Usage will probably change over time but the Lead does an excellent job explaining what the term "Chinese Language" means, and it is based on unbiased research. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 01:37, 6 July 2011 (UTC)
Referring to the "Move Proposal" at the top of the page, I think we should do it, even if >there are still plenty of reputable sources referring to the "chinese language"<. Currently the article starts with >>Chinese, the Chinese languages, or the Sinitic languages is a language family consisting of languages [...]<< This too, >does an excellent job explaining what the term "Chinese Language" means< (quoting Metal.lunchbox). However, not despite but especially because of this introduction into the article I say it should be moved. After all it's kind of confusing to the 'ordinary user' of wikipedia, who most probably doesn't know much about chinese and simply won't understand at all why it's called 'chinese language' if it's obviously a group of languages. --MarsmanRom (talk) 15:41, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

The definition of "language" as "mutually intelligible dialect cluster" is technical linguistic jargon, not common English usage, as well as being unworkable in practice for nontrivial cases. The common meaning of "language" primarily refers to languages notable enough to be used for public discourse and be learned by nonnatives, what linguists might refer to as a lingua franca, standard language, prestige dialect, orAusbausprache. --JWB (talk) 20:32, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

If that's really what some people think, then they're simply wrong.
The introduction as it is (and the title for that matter) is simply not supported by the sources. They consistently state that Chinese is a language family where the languages are not mutually intelligible, even if some people might mistake it for something else. Munci (talk) 03:25, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

This article needs some clarification regarding mutual intelligibility, as well as some way of defining mutual intelligibility, perhaps using some form of measurement. This is especially true when the first paragraph contradicts the second paragraph. To wit:

"The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees....

"Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity. . . .There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme). . . . Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible. . . ."

'Chinese' in Chinese[edit]

In Taiwan, the word Guo Yu (land - speak) is used to refer to Chinese as language. Han Yu (Han speak) is Mainland Chinese use. (talk) 11:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Guoyu is used to refer to standard Mandarin, known as Putonghua in the Mainland. Guoyu is never used to refer to the Chinese Language, only the specific Mandarin variety of it, and only a specific dialect and accent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:52, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
The word "Chinese" stands for Mandarin (官話), Cantonese(粵語), Hokkien (閩語), Wu (吳語), etc, all included, not only 國語. -- Yejianfei (talk) 07:47, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Wa State[edit]

Standard Mandarin is one of two official languages of the Wa State, alongside the Wa language. The Wa State is an unrecognised rebel autonomous state within Myanmar comprised of ethnic Chinese and Va people. The Wa State Government Website is available in Chinese, and here is a television news report from the Wa State, spoken in Standard Mandarin. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 07:23, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

"Rough breathing"?[edit]

I do not think that the term "rough breathing" is a valid alternative description of an "aspirated" initial consonant in Mandarin. The term "rough breathing," in my understanding, is archetypically used to describe a phonetic feature of Ancient Greek -- by contrast with "smooth breathing". I do not think the aspirated/non-aspirated feature of Mandarin is sufficiently close to that of rough breathing / smooth breathing to be implicitly identical. Dratman (talk) 18:05, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

I've changed it to voicing; from Old Chinese both aspiration and voicing were used to distinguish consonants, unlike most other languages (or at least all I know) that use either voicing (e.g. English) or aspiration (e.g. Mandarin).--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 18:37, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

A good resolution, I think. Thanks for your help. Dratman (talk) 21:22, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Official status[edit]

The info box would look much more organized and "cleaner" if the list of political entities where Chinese is official is made into a collapsable list with a link to the List of countries where Chinese is an official language. Furthermore, where the heck is the original research claim being pointed at? Yes, Chinese is official in five political entities, but there are two variants of the language that are considered official, albeit not de jure. Standard Mandarin or Putonghua is official in China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Although the Basic Law of both Hong Kong and Macau simply consider Chinese as official, the standard Cantonese variant has long been the standard de facto form in the two territories, even after the handovers. (see the notes in the respective SARs' articles under "official language")

Furthermore, Chinese is not an auxiliary language in the Philippines. The country's constitution states that Filipino and English are official, while Spanish and Arabic are auxiliary on an optional basis.[1] Recent census data that can be obtained on the demographics of the Philippines page also indicates that Chinese has not been the majority language of the Chinese population there for quite some time. Lastly, should the Wa State even be considered? It is an unrecognized rouge state whose status is even more obscure than that of Taiwan's. Before making immediate judgements about editors placing in original research, maybe one should do research on the edits themselves before jumping to conclusions and cutting off contributions. - Moalli (talk) 7:14, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Please assume good faith, it's nobody's intention to "cut off contributions"; given that the status quo to the article is being changed in a significant way, it would be better to discuss the whole issue on the talkpage first, to gain proper WP:CONSENSUS. I applaud your contributions elsewhere, such as the recent article you have made on Hong Kong dramas, as they are beneficial towards Wikipedia; please don't take this the wrong way or anything. I have nothing against you personally.
First of all, I don't have any particular opinion regarding the Philippines part, so if you want to remove that, feel free to do so. As for the whole Mandarin/Cantonese thing, by Hong Kong law, the official language is "Chinese"; it is intentionally written to be ambiguous. Yes, I am aware that in reality everything in Hong Kong is done in Cantonese, however this is something that can be explained more clearly in prose, in an appropriate paragraph within an appropriate section, and not generalized in the infobox, which may confuse readers. The infobox is there to give a general idea for readers, before they continue on to read the rest of the article.
As for the Wa State, I would like to disagree with your opinion. Wikipedia is neutral in that it does not side with whether or not a regime is "legitimate" or not, and the reality is that within the territories of the Wa State, the government of Myanmar holds zero political power. One could also argue that Taiwan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia are "unrecognized rouge states", but that does not mean that we diminish their status for that reason. A sovereign state is defined in that it has a population and it governs itself, and the Wa State meets this definition, just like Taiwan. The Wa State has a military, economy and social structure just like any other nation. As for being "fringe", how do we make such a judgment? If you're making it based on the size of a country, the Wa State is larger than the Vatican City, Monaco and many Pacific island nations. When does and doesn't a country, recognized or not, become "fringe"? The Wa state is a sovereign state in that it has political power, and military force to back that power up; as an example by contrast, I cannot declare my own republic in my backyard and expected to be taken seriously (or without being apprehended or gunned down by the Australian Defense Force), because I do not have any military power. Political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The status of the Wa State also happens to be supported by reliable, verifiable sources. -- 李博杰  | Talk contribs email 07:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Do we have any citations for the claim that Chinese is an official language of this unofficial state? Kanguole 09:33, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Stimson Center: "The Wa have very close ties with China, and Mandarin is their language of government, as well as a second language among the public."
  • Shan Herald Agency: "The official languages (designated by the current UWSP administration) are Mandarin and Wa. Most Wa can speak but cannot write their own language. Very few know Burmese, although many can speak Shan."
  • InfoMekong: "Wa is a Mon-Khmer language with 3 primary dialects. Many Wa speak Mandarin Chinese as a second language. Wa does not have its own written language. Therefore, the Wa in Myanmar and China have adopted written Chinese as their chief written language. Wa children are being educated in Chinese."
These three links I just took from the references section at the Wa State article; I might find some more later on, time willing. --benlisquareTCE 11:44, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

The United Nations[edit]

Cursory searches at the UN site (its Official Languages page) and its translation department return very diplomatic references to "Chinese" being an official language. Just like with Macao and the US Census Bureau, that involves just writing 中文 and glossing over any dialectical spoken differences, counting Cantonese &c. as part of the same group. (I'm sure they have to hire translators for spoken Chinese, but I can't find anything even on their jobs portal where they spell out which kind they're looking for.)

A, if someone else's Googlefu is stronger, kindly point me to where the UN explicitly states that Mandarin (or "Standard") is particularly meant, to the exclusion of other varieties.

B, pending that source, we should move the "official UN language" claim from Mandarin (or "Standard") to Hanyu and Chinese as a whole. That seems to be what the status is at the moment. — LlywelynII 03:44, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Use in Japan[edit]

The article says:

Vietnam, Korea and Japan each developed writing systems for their own languages, initially based on Chinese characters, but later replaced with the Hangul alphabet for Korean and supplemented with kana syllabaries for Japanese, while Vietnamese continued to be written with the complex Chữ nôm script. However these were limited to popular literature until the late 19th century.

Is this saying that in Japan the kana-supplemented system was not used for anything other than popular literature until the late 19th century? Is that really correct? What was used in Japan for other types of writing prior to that, then? (talk) 02:14, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Kanbun, or in other words, Classical Chinese. See the Seventeen-point constitution on Wikisource for an example. Vernacular Japanese writing was limited to fictional literature, e.g. The Tale of Genji. --benlisquareTCE 10:14, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
OK, thanks for your reply. (talk) 18:19, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Two points[edit]


1. I question the claim that Chinese is "native" to the United States, Canada, etc. Large numbers of immigrant speakers do not make a language "native". Admittedly a grey area does arise after a great amount of historical time has elapsed; for example, even English was originally introduced to England. However, I don't believe that the present claim in the article is plausible according to most people's understanding of the word "native".

2. "About one-fifth of the world's population, or over one billion people, speaks some form of Chinese as their native language." is mismatched. The subject should be considered singular or plural (I prefer plural) but not both at once. (talk) 21:55, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Homphones and tones[edit]

The homophones are not distinguished by the tones, as the tones are part of the phonological variables.

Any look into a Chinese dictionary shows that often there are several characters with different meanings for the same proniunciation, including the same tone. Therefore spoken Chinese and Latin written Chinese is always defective in relation to texts written in Chinese characters.

This must be distinguished from false homophones that have the same spelling only in simplified transcrioption (ommossion of the tone marks).--Ulamm (talk) 20:12, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Inconsistent styling[edit]

This article naturally contains a large amount of Chinese script. There is a hatnote at the top of this article that says the text is formatted in the style of (Simplified Chinese/Traditional Chinese; Pinyin). However, reading the article I find this is not the case. The the Chinese script is sometimes inside brackets, sometimes not. The pinyin usually comes first, sometimes last and sometimes isn't there are all. English translations are randomly before, after, in quotes or not in quotes. There needs to be some consensus about the style used in this article and it should be as consistently as practical applied within the article. Before I go changing anything I would like some comments on how to style this without creating clutter. Rincewind42 (talk) 14:01, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, it's cluttered, though it's not obvious how to avoid it. Certainly the pinyin should be in italics and the English should be in roman in double quotes, and we ought to agree on an order. Kanguole 19:12, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
My preference would be yún (云/雲 "cloud"), giving priority to the spoken word, but I imagine the emphasis on the standard language might be controversial. Kanguole 01:41, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Using yún (云/雲 "cloud") does work so to an extent except it assumes that the reader knows how to pronounce pinyin, which they probably don't. The WP:MOS-ZH and other section of the MOS seem to suggest something like, 'the word for "cloud" (云/雲 yún) is...' as that puts English first. Some other articles have, 'the word "yun" (云/雲; yún; "cloud") is...' where they treat "yun" as the name of the word and the pinyin as the pronunciation, though it does seem to duplicate things excessively. Rincewind42 (talk) 14:54, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
In a featured article like Swedish language we find gås ("goose"), etc, so it wouldn't be out of the ordinary. I think the last style you mention is mainly used in the lead sentence of articles. Kanguole 00:50, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Image formatting[edit]

No idea what's going on, but for some reason the images of Phan Boi Chau and Tripitaka Koreana are being pushed down to sections where they aren't supposed to be, well at least in terms of their placement within the wiki syntax. Refer to this image. Per the page code, the thumbnail should appear much earlier in a different section, and as a result, it is pushing down the File:Map of sinitic languages cropped-en.svg image to lower sections. The Phan Boi Chau image is also appearing in the Nomenclature section instead of the History section, despite being set to stick to the left margin. Viewed in Mozilla Firefox 27.0 on 1920x1080. --benlisquareTCE 02:24, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

The tall infobox messes things up a lot, particularly on large screens – I'm not sure what to to about it. Putting the pie chart in the text interrupts the text. Maybe putting the map and pie chart side by side would work? Kanguole 16:06, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Example text
Example text
Example text
Example text
Example text
We could give it a go, and see how things turn out. Should I leave it to you? --benlisquareTCE 00:21, 14 February 2014 (UTC)
It's not so easy, as the pie chart isn't an image. Kanguole 11:05, 14 February 2014 (UTC)

Latest revision as of 11:55, 27 June 2014[edit]

Is this really an improvement of the article? To me, it seems to be degrading of the article. MaynardClark (talk) 15:58, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

What are your objections? Kanguole 16:07, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 26 April 2015[edit]

Chinese languageChinese languages – The article concerns a language group, not a single language. There may be a "perception" among some people that it constitutes a single language, but Wikipedia should not favour superstition over science. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:44, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Support. Britannica uses "Chinese languages."[2] Columbia's article is titled simply "Chinese."[3] The eigenvector (talk) 23:11, 26 April 2015 (UTC)