Talk:Chinese language

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Former featured article candidateChinese 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
January 19, 2004Refreshing brilliant proseNot kept
July 24, 2004Featured article candidateNot promoted
April 28, 2005Peer reviewReviewed
Current status: Former featured article candidate

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]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved Mike Cline (talk) 10:40, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

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."[1] Columbia's article is titled simply "Chinese."[2] The eigenvector (talk) 23:11, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I could use a lot more sourcing of this... Red Slash 03:11, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Of what? The linguistic fact that "Chinese" is considered by linguists to be a language group or (sub)family rather than a language in the normal sense is already well-sourced in the article, as well as being supported by the links given above. W. P. Uzer (talk) 08:55, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment There is only one Chinese language, which is the written script or Hanzi and of which there is no equivalent spoken version due to linguistic diversity over time. All the other "Chinese languages", including Mandarin and Cantonese are actually dialects.  Philg88 talk 12:35, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't think any serious linguist would agree with this position, though please cite one if you can. (There is also an article called Written Chinese, which deals with the written language.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 14:21, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
      • The comment is based on my long term exposure to China, its language and the fact that I am a fluent speaker of the Mandarin dialect. Nothing more.  Philg88 talk 17:48, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose. Although I agree with the point that Chinese is a language group, not a single language that is not a view universally held, and WP tries not to take a position on whether Chinese is a single language or many. And 'Chinese language' covers both possibilities; either 'Chinese' is a single language with dialects or the article describes every 'Chinese language'. Per Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals) article titles are usually singular, so it's dog not 'dogs' etc..--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 13:03, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
    • Woof, woof! Nicely put, John.  Philg88 talk 13:51, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
    • WP:PLURAL also states that "Articles on particular language groups, as opposed to individual languages, are pluralized, such as Romance languages, Afro-Asiatic languages, Native American languages, Sino-Tibetan languages." Wugapodes (talk) 16:24, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
  • comment I would also note, having just noticed it, that Chinese languages already points to Varieties of Chinese, the article on the diversity of the language group/dialect group. This article provides more of an overview, of the varieties, of the history, of the single written language with limited variations. So Chinese languages already refers to the language group/dialect group, but a different article covers it.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 14:09, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
    • But this is the problem. In spite of the desire for Wikipedia "not to take a view" on the matter, by titling this article in the singular, and sending people who type in the plural somewhere else, we effectively are taking a view on the matter - and it's not the view supported by reliable sources. No-one is going to interpret "Chinese language" in the same way that they would interpret "dog" - they're just going to read it as referring to a single language, like when they see all our other articles titled "(something) language". Our other articles on language groups, as anyone would naturally expect, are titled in the plural. To do otherwise in this case seems a bit perverse. In fact, if you look at the guideline you yourself have cited, it explicitly states that articles on language groups use the plural. W. P. Uzer (talk) 14:16, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
      • The counter to that last point is to ask whether Chinese is a language group or a language within the Sino-Tibetan group. Also the article makes it clear (or as clear as it can) in the very first sentence: Chinese is a group of related but in many cases mutually unintelligible language varieties..., varieties as they are either dialects or languages depending on your view. Again WP tries not to to come down on one side or the other of this debate.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 18:09, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
        • Until anyone can cite some modern mainstream linguists arguing that Chinese is a single language, there is not really any debate to avoid coming down on one side or the other of. And as we can see, WP hasn't been very successful at not coming down on one side, since it has titled its main article on the topic "Chinese language", for which the only practical interpretation is that WP prefers the single-language view. (Of course, taking the multi-language view doesn't imply that all the varieties are separate languages, or even that there's any universally accepted way of bundling them up into specific separate languages, just that the degree of variety within "Chinese" is too great for it to be a single language.) W. P. Uzer (talk) 20:02, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak Support: Being of Chinese heritage and a fluent speaker of the Mandarin and Cantonese dialects, I notice that they resemble independent languages in that they are not mutually intelligible - someone fluent in one dialect cannot easily understand the other. But, as Philg88 pointed out, they use the same script and more or less the same phrase and sentence structures, and that is clearly a reason that they both have something in common and that they should not be considered separate "Chinese languages" but as varieties of Chinese itself. But I believe that the importance of the way people speak just edges out that of the way they write. <<< SOME GADGET GEEK >>> (talk) 17:26, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Support - this article is about a group of closely related languages. Leaving politics out of it, this should rightly be Chinese languages (plural) and the current title should redirect to Standard Chinese which should then have a navigation hat note ({{for}} or {{about}}) referring back to Chinese languages.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 00:41, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
  • comment There is an assumption here that language is a technical term, and what is and is not one is a matter of science. But it isn't – the designation has always been governed by political, historical and cultural factors. Perhaps people think Arabic language should be similarly renamed, but few would propose the same for German language. Yet each of these includes more than a dozen mutually unintelligible varieties.

    The sources saying that Chinese is a language family are equivocal: Crystal also has a table of the top 20 languages in the world, topped by Chinese; Norman repeatedly uses the phrase "the Chinese language" in the following pages; DeFrancis says calling Chinese "a family of languages" is also inaccurate, and in fact titles his book The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. For authors such as Norman and DeFrancis, the term encompasses not only contemporary forms of speech, but also historical varieties and written forms, despite the vast gulf between Literary Chinese and speech. Kanguole 00:55, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Oppose – Typically, although mutual intelligibility is a good rule of thumb for determining whether two varieties are separate languages or dialects of one language, linguists overwhelmingly respect the sociolinguistic situation on the ground and follow what native speakers believe. The issue is the same for Arabic. The nominator's request for sources saying as much speaks to ignorance regarding basic linguistics, given how Chinese is typically given as an example in introductory texts of an extreme point in the irrelevance of mutual intelligibility (the other extreme is the languages of former Yugoslavia, which are all mutually intelligible and the standard varieties of which differ less than regional dialects). But, for the fun of it, here are some examples:

    • Wardaugh & Fuller (2014) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics" (pp. 31-32) say as much, as do Vejcer & Nikol’skij (1986) Introduction to Sociolinguistics (p. 19), Van Herk (2012) What Is Sociolinguistics (p. 14), and Liang (2014) Language Attitudes and Identities in Multilingual China (p. 14).
    • A quick search on JSTOR finds Erbaugh, M. (1995) "Southern Chinese Dialects as a Medium for Reconciliation within Greater China." Language in Society who says "but in fact, the Han Chinese people speak seven major, mutually unintelligible, groups of dialects…" and goes on to list them (p. 80). Similarly, Chen, P. (1993): "Modern Written Chinese in Development." Language in Society refers to Mandarin as "a dialect of Chinese that is the native tongue of the majority of the Chinese population.." (p. 507) and says: "Recent research in Chinese dialectology shows that there are seven major dialects, or more precisely dialect groups, in Chinese…” (p. 510).
    • From searching at JSTOR and Google Scholar, it appears that the phrase "Chinese languages" does appear, though at quite a lower frequency than "Chinese language" and "Chinese dialects" ("Chinese languages" doesn't even register on Google's Ngram reader), though I find it amusing that the first source I clicked on was this dissertation that makes it clear it does not distinguish between language and dialect (that is, the author doesn't wish to enter into the language-dialect debate). — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 04:31, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
      • Do any of these sources argue that Chinese is a single language? If so, can they be worked into the article? At least to provide some sort of explanation for the fact that we're calling Chinese a language, when all the information we give, all the linguists we quote on the subject, and the received knowledge of probably most people in the West, indicate that it is not a single language. (And if they don't argue that, how are they relevant?) W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:47, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
When you say that all the linguists we quote on the subject indicate that it's not a single language, I'm unsure as to what makes you say that. It actually seems like you're assuming what you're trying to prove. Let's go through the sources:
  • Much of the content covering the history of Chinese cites Norman (1988). While I can't see most of the cited page ranges, I can see that he continually refers to them as dialects. On page 187, he makes the same point about dialect/language as I stated earlier.
  • The source backing up claims about Sino-Tibetan classification (Handel 2008), similarly presents competing charts (pp. 427-428) that each list Chinese as a single item. The author doesn't refer to dialects at all.
  • Coblin (2000), who is cited in reference to the rise of Mandarin as the official dialect is fairly ambiguous in their treatment, often using the term language just to mean speech and taking no firm stance on the matter.
  • Ramsey (1987) makes the same point about dialects/languages in the preface and explicitly refers to them as dialects.
  • Kurpaska (2010) refers to the varieties as "dialects" but covers the issue of mutual intelligibility in the preface and states that this is "more or less a matter of convention." She also states (pp. 34, 203) that mutual intelligibility is not the accepted standard of making a dialect/language convention and that this classification factors in issues of politics, anthropology, and history.
  • Francis (1987) likewise (p. 39) speaks of the mutual intelligibility issue, and spills quite a bit of ink wringing his hands over the issue before coining the term regionalect as an English-language parallel to fāngyán, which he considers a middle step between local dialect and language.
In fact, the only place where this article states that any linguists don't consider Chinese a single language seems to come from Francis (1987), though it's clear that this is patently untrue. In fact, a close inspection of the relevant pages (pp. 53-57) shows that Francis is actually making this up as a strawman to knock down. He states cites Bloomfield (1933) in making a general claim about how linguists prefer to parse dialect and language, but he doesn't actually claim that linguists follow through with this preference with Chinese and makes it clear that even Chinese linguists use the term dialects when writing in English. Furthermore, Bloomfield (1933) was out of date on this matter decades before Francis published his book, making it doubly untrue. Finally, his claim that there is a controversy regarding what to call varieties of Chinese cites Haugen (1966), a source that doesn't even mention Chinese.
In short, every single linguist we have found so far considers Chinese to be a single language composed of mutually unintelligible varieties. Surely there may be hand-wringing, as we find in many of these sources, because the issue is complicated. But so far no one has found any linguist claiming that Chinese is a family of languages and not a single language. If no one objects, I'll be removing the inaccurate statement from the article. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:24, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Unsure, slightly leaning towards oppose. Technically the nominator is absolutely correct in regards to Chinese being more of a language family than a language. Many linguists, in the west and in China, consider Chinese as a family of languages (or at least linked through the Ausbausprache framework), and the literature for this is widely available. There is consensus amongst linguists that the notion of a "Chinese language" (note not plural) is affected by identity politics. However, Wikipedia's policies don't state whether articles should be named via technicality; the overwhelming WP:COMMONNAME is still "Chinese language", as the overwhelming proportion of English literature that refers to the topic is not a specialised linguistics text. For example, the official English translation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Order of the President No.37) refers to the official language (note not plural) of China as "Chinese language" (note not plural). Most non-linguistic articles, newspapers, news websites, general readership books and the like all refer to "Chinese" or "Chinese language" as the official language (note not plural) of China, since the debate as to whether or not Chinese is a language or a family isn't widely covered amongst laymens' circles. From a policy point of view, Wikipedia should be favouring mainstream literature, as opposed to specialist or niche circles - for the same reason, we don't use specialist titles in biology, pharmacology, computing or engineering articles on Wikipedia. Language is more than the study of language itself, but also a social construct. --benlisquareTCE 06:42, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak support There are many Chinese languages that belong to different branches or families, while they have clearly influenced each other by the time, they have their own separate identity. There are many Indo-Europeanists of that opinion as well. OccultZone (TalkContributionsLog) 09:54, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Weak support I'd say both options make sense to me. Move if you want. Peter238 (talk) 14:32, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This may be a classic case of user:andrewa/Andrew's principle, but I'd definitely leave it as it is, having read the lead of the current article [3] and of the article to which Chinese languages currently redirects. [4] Between these two and the languages of China article we actually have excellent and remarkably non-POV coverage of a very controversial topic. Any change will be likely for the worse. Andrewa (talk) 03:07, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
    • Why do you think it's controversial? And if it is, how exactly is it "non-POV" to come down decidedly on one side of the controversy (the side that the scientists are not on)? W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:54, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose We are not bound to the thinking of linguists. Here on wikipedia we handle a variety of potentially technical topics and each time the goal is the same, not to provide an exact synthesis of the most technical writing of the subject, but to provide a resource to enable the common reader, without any assumptions of prior knowledge, a useful summary of the topic. That doesn't need we need to arbitrarily choose folk-wisdom over science either, but simply pointing to what linguists use isn't as ironclad as some of you think it is. Linguists have a special way of refering to many many things which have common names in the English language which differ from their specialized usage. Wikipedia has a clear policy of using the WP:COMMON NAME for a topic if a clear common name exists. I am familiar with specialized writing on this subject. Linguists do commonly refer to this topic as Chinese Languages, but we shouldn't exaggerate this claim either. There are linguist who may use the term "Chinese language" to refer to this very topic and there is a case to be made for that name. I'm comfortable with the current name, even though it disagrees somewhat with common usage among a large portion of linguistic texts. I think the current name also avoids confusion with "Languages of China" which is a different topic. - Metal lunchbox (talk) 03:30, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
    • I don't think common usage of "language" is much different in this case. People in the West, as far as I know, are aware at least as much that Mandarin and Cantonese are different languages. So even if it is Wikipedia's purpose to reinforce people in their prejudices rather than to teach them what experts actually tell us, the choice here should be the plural. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:54, 9 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Support – Despite the widespread Han Chinese myths about Hanzi and Hanyu, "Chinese languages" is a more accurate title than "Chinese language". Keahapana (talk) 20:15, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Strong Support WP:PLURAL clearly states that "Articles on particular language groups, as opposed to individual languages, are pluralized, such as Romance languages, Afro-Asiatic languages, Native American languages, Sino-Tibetan languages" is an exception to the general idea that titles should be singular. I take particular note of "Native American languages" which aren't even a language family but an areal classification. The first line of this article states that these are not one language but a language group making it fall squarely within the policy. Further, even if the common name is "Chinese" that is highly influenced by identity politics, international politics, and social factors which is a debate we can easily remain neutral in by following the guidelines on naming conventions cited above.
To the point of WP:COMMONNAME which many objectors bring up, the policy states that "Wikipedia has many naming conventions relating to specific subject domains[...]. Sometimes these recommend the use of titles that are not strictly the common name." It proceeds to recommend weighing the benefits of following such a convention. Here the benefit is descriptive precision and neutrality. We need not take a side in the debate and can easily do so by following an existing naming convention. Additionally, this article is very clearly an article on the linguistics of Chinese languages, and so it falls under the naming convention in WP:PLURAL and allows us for a more precise description found in the scientific sources which have a consensus of treating and refering to "Chinese" as a group of languages supporting use of the plural in the title as WP:COMMONNAME states "it prefers to use the name that is most frequently used to refer to the subject in English-language reliable sources" and the reliable sources here support treatment as a group of languages. Wugapodes (talk) 16:22, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Discussion regarding the Carstairs Douglas paragraph[edit]

Aeusoes1 recently made an edit where a paragraph in the nomenclature section containing arguments against calling Chinese languages "dialects" was removed (you can see more in the diff linked). I reverted the change as I believe the paragraph is notable and relevant to the discussion on the debate as to the nomenclature of Chinese languages.

Aeusoes1, you mentioned in your edit summary that it "isn't the right place for this [paragraph]". I'd rather not see the paragraph deleted entirely as I think it adds to the scholarly side of the argument where consensus is rather against a nomenclature of "dialects". I'd be fine integrating it into other paragraphs, or moving it to another place if you think it doesn't fit stylistically. I'm interested to hear your reasoning and thoughts on the matter. Wugapodes (talk) 00:44, 20 June 2015 (UTC)

If we want to fairly present an actual disagreement among scholars about the appropriateness of using the term "dialect" I don't have a problem. However, dregging up what an obscure scholar said 140 years ago doesn't do that. Douglas is IMHO inappropriately drawn into a discussion of modern scholarship when he is not a modern scholar.
As my contributions in the above move proposal show, I so far have not been able to find evidence of a body of scholars who prefer the term "languages" when it comes to Chinese varieties, which is why here and elsewhere I have significantly toned down claims to such a controversy. If we can extend our coverage of western scholarship regarding Chinese linguistics back to Douglas (and before), there's certainly a place for him, but not a full paragraph and not amid discussion of modern scholarship. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 03:40, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
It seems unjustified to use a minor 19th-century scholar in an area where there is so much modern scholarship. Kanguole 08:58, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
Conflict of interest declaration: I wrote that paragraph.
My reasons for keeping that paragraph are simple: it has proper citation (no original research) and it adds information to the nomenclature of Han languages, which seems not be found in other sections of the article.
My questions for the above two editors are as follows: What is the definition of 'modern'? Why should that section be restricted to 'modern' scholars? What is the source saying that Douglas was an 'obscure' scholar?
The paragraph doesn't seem to be found in a discussion where there is 'so much' 'modern' scholarship. In fact, there are only six citations (citation 49 overlaps with 54) other than that of Douglas. One of them is the international standard-setting body ISO (56). The other five are a sociolinguistics text book (50), another sociolinguistics textbook (51), a book on language politics and language education in China (52), a book on languages of China (53), and the work by DeFrancis (54). Among them, the sentence for which 53 is cited ("the lack of mutual intelligibility between its varieties may be seen as comparable to the Romance languages in this regard") does not tell us directly how the Han languages should be named. That is, the 'so much' 'modern' scholarship consists of only four (or five, if ISO is scholarship) that treat the nomenclature of those languages and two of them are sociolinguistics textbooks, while the other two only treat the Han languages as a whole. There is no single opinion from scholars studying an individual Han language. This is why I don't understand why the paragraph extracted from the work by Douglas, an expert on Minnan, must be removed. If the characteristics of the organisms Darwin studied differed greatly from 'modern' organisms, it might be inappropriate to cite Darwin in a discussion of present-day organisms. But that's not the case. If the linguistic phenomena/attributes Douglas observed for for Minnan and other languages do not apply to present-day languages, it would be a good reason to exclude Douglas. But that's not the case. Lysimachi (talk) 14:44, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for participating, Lysimachi. The primary issue, IMHO, is neutrality. As WP:NPOV states, we should be representing the sources we cite "in proportion to the prominence of each viewpoint in the published, reliable sources." That means that, even if a source is published, it may be possible to give it too much prominence if it represents a fringe theory or outmoded way of thinking.
In the case of Douglas, the field of linguistics has changed considerably since he published his dictionary; in particular, the field of sociolinguistics challenges some of the older understandings of language from Douglas's time. In addition to theoretical changes, there are also actual sociolinguistic changes that make Douglas less relevant. For example:
  • Douglas says that Amoy "is spoken by the highest ranks just as by the common people…” I don't know if this is still true, though I have reason to doubt it; since his time, the Chinese government has promoted Standard Mandarin as an official language of government and instruction. It is likely that this situation has thus changed, though we would need a much more recent source to confirm this.
  • Douglas says that Amoy is "a distinct language," based, presumably on mutual intelligibility. Then again, our current understanding of Chinese is that there is a sort of dialect continuum. As mentioned in the article and in the previous discussion, the notion of mutual intelligibility is not a good benchmark for determining the distinction between a dialect and a separate language; dialect continua such as those in China are one of those complicated situations that make the assertion of a variety as a “distinct language” highly suspect. Maybe he didn't know about the dialect continuum in his time, which only speaks further to his irrelevance on the matter.
  • Douglas states that Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. cannot be dialects because they, themselves, have dialectal variation. This would be like saying that American English isn't a dialect of English because there are different dialects within the American continent. Not only does this further demonstrate his ignorance of dialect continua, but it also shows how outdated his thinking is. Linguistic classifications, as indicated in the article, now also include dialect groups. Douglas shows his irrelevance here because he is arguing between two classifications when scholarship now considers other options.
So the linguistic situation is likely different, and scholarly approaches to language are also quite different.
Your interrogation of the sources is a little perplexing to me, particularly this edit when you add {{cn}} tags for information that is already cited (in one case by three sources). I am sure it would be interesting to look at opinions from “scholars studying an individual Han language” though I think sources such as the sociolinguistics textbooks are helpful in that they give generalities about what can be found in scholarship; in other words, we are helped more by sources that look at the big picture for us, rather than trying to scour every scholar ourselves and try to determine our own pattern.
Again, I don’t have a problem with expanding that section and even looking at what individual scholars say regarding the language/dialect issue, but Douglas is currently getting undue weight when more modern scholarship is available. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:27, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
1. The former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-Bian speaks Minnan. There are TV programs in Minnan in both China and Taiwan. 2. According to your current understanding, is there a continuum between Mandarin and Minnan? 3. Speakers of American English can easily understand British English. Mandarin speakers cannot easily understand Cantonese.
One suggestion: if you think sociolinguistics and dialect continuum are so important and prominent, you should and could easily expand the article in those aspects, rather than simply removing other contents. Lysimachi (talk) 19:26, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
Whether or not there is room to expand on the sociolinguistic aspects of Chinese, my points on the relevance of Douglas stand. He is not part of modern linguistic scholarship. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:58, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
It's obvious that Douglas is not modern, though I think it's ill advised to discount the source outright, particularly since the paragraph outlines (what I assume to be as I haven't seen the source myself) his methodology which is not outlandish or outdated. Whether he is cited frequently is not something I know about. Douglas' point is also one that has been echoed by academics throughout the 20th century, from Language (Bloomfeld 1933) to the four sources cited in note a (and discussed in the section below). I will say that a full paragraph to an older source, when more recent sources exist, is a little much, but that mention of Douglas need not be removed entirely as his position is not inaccurate or contrary to modern scholarship. Namely, mutual intelligability is still a very important part of determining the distinction between language and dialect. It is obviously not the criterion as sociolinguistic factors play a role (and the purpose of the distinction is largely utilitarian or political, sometimes both), but if two speakers understand only, say, <10% of what each other says, it would be ludicrous to argue that they speak the same language.
Regardless, my job here isn't to change your mind, rather, to come to a consensus on wording for the paragraph as I agree it can be better. How do you feel about this sentence being moved to the preceding paragraph and added right before the sentence on DeFrees, and then deleting the Douglas paragraph?
"Although a literary language in Han characters (Classical Chinese) is used throughout China, it is a dead language, whose relationship to the various languages spoken in China (e.g., Mandarin, Hakka, ...) is like that of Latin to the languages in South-western Europe.[1]"
So the sentences would read:
"While the lack of mutual intelligibility between its varieties may be seen as comparable to the Romance languages in this regard,[2] mutual intelligibility is not the decisive criteria in determining whether varieties are separate languages or dialects of a single language[citation needed]. Although a literary language in Han characters (Classical Chinese) is used throughout China, it is a dead language, whose relationship to the various languages spoken in China (e.g., Mandarin, Hakka, ...) is like that of Latin to the languages in South-western Europe.[1] DeFrancis (1984) considers the mutual unintelligibility too great for the term "dialects" to be used to refer to the different varieties..."
Wugapodes (talk) 00:57, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
If Douglas's position can be found among contemporary scholars, we should find and cite those scholars. Any relevance Douglas may have would be historical, rather than as a source for statements regarding contemporary linguistic understanding. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 02:07, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
And if so, you should contribute that source, but asking another person to source an already sourced claim that is not factually incorrect is unreasonable. Either you believe the information in the proposed revision is incorrect (in which case you should provide a source), or it is correct (and sourced) and should stand. Just because a source is not recent does not mean that it is incorrect, would you object to the use of Boas or Nietzsche in an article simply because they are old? Sources should be weighed based upon the veracity of their claims. The only sentence from the paragraph that would be retained makes 3 claims:
  1. Chinese language varieties use a Han script (Classical Chinese)
  2. The language that script is based upon is dead
  3. The relation between modern language varieties and the Han script is comparable to Romance languages and Latin
Only the first is time related in that the script used could have changed in the ensuing century, but we know it hasn't and that is sourced throughout the article. With regards to 2, If a language was dead in the 1800s, it is likely still dead and there is no reason to believe that Han Chinese has been revitalized. Numerous other sources make a similar claim as 3.
If you would like to spend time searching for modern scholars that say the exact same thing as Douglas, feel free, but I don't see a reason to find sources that duplicate another. Wikipedia is not an academic journal. Our options for sourcing are not limited to the last few volumes of Language. If your only objection comes down to the age of the source then I find your argument unconvincing. If you have objections to the content of the proposed wording, I am willing to continue revising, but I think it imprudent to look for more sources for an already sourced sentence that satisfies WP:VERIFY.Wugapodes (talk) 16:32, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
The problem is that Douglas's age makes it not a reliable source. We can't use Douglas to back up claims about contemporary practice or the contemporary linguistic situation because we would need contemporary sources to verify whether the information he provides is still accurate. Because we need those contemporary sources either way, it makes sense to eliminate the middle man and just cite the modern source.
If we are making claims about the history of scholastic thought, Douglas becomes more relevant. This is, for example, how Franz Boas would be cited, as now his ideas about race and anatomy are outdated. Since we're not doing a review of scholarship, Douglas is less relevant. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:22, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b Douglas, Carstairs (1873). Chinese-English dictionary of the vernacular or spoken language of Amoy : with the principal variations of the Chang-Chew and Chin-Chew dialects. London: Trübner. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  2. ^ Ramsey (1987), pp. 6–7.
Have we reached a consensus? I asked you these questions "What is the definition of 'modern'? Why should that section be restricted to 'modern' scholars?", but no answer from you yet. Why does Douglas's age makes it not a reliable source? Lysimachi (talk) 14:14, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I think I have already answered your question about modernity in a roundabout way. In the field of linguistics, there have been enough advances that Douglas is less relevant. Moreover, language change is rapid enough that we can't use Douglas as a verification for the linguistic situation on the ground. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 16:11, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Please answer the questions in a direct way, if it is not too difficult for you. What is the definition of 'modern'? Why should that section be restricted to 'modern' scholars? What do you mean by 'relevant'? How rapid is language change? How is it related to the citations from Douglas Lysimachi (talk) 17:51, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I've already directly explained my reasoning for removing mention of Douglas in the section in question and the sorts of changes necessary for mentioning him to be appropriate. Because I've already addressed this, I think it would be off topic to explain to you in greater detail what "modern" and "relevant" mean.
If you are genuinely curious, about what modern means, I recommend Critically Modern (edited by Bruce Knauft) and We Have Never Been Modern (by Bruno Latour). — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:20, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
If you aren't even able to answer these questions directly (What is the definition of 'modern'? Why should that section be restricted to 'modern' scholars? What do you mean by 'relevant'? How rapid is language change? How is it related to the citations from Douglas?), it seems you are removing sourced content only based on your feelings. Lysimachi (talk) 20:27, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

Linguists 'typically' ...[edit]

For the sentence "Linguists also typically consider Chinese to be a single language and its varieties to be dialects.", there are three citations (50-52). I don't have full access to all three of them, but I have access to the fifth edition of 50,

where on p. 29 it says:
"We should note that the situation in India and Pakistan is in almost direct contrast to that which exists in China, where mutually unintelligible Chinese languages (called ‘dialects’ by the Chinese themselves) are united through a common writing system and tradition."
, on p. 62:
"For example, Pidgin Chinese English was used mainly by speakers of different Chinese languages, and Tok Pisin is today used as a unifying language among speakers of many different languages in Papua New Guinea."
, and on p. 372:
"Although the major Chinese language in Singapore is Hokkien, it is Mandarin, the language that unites Singapore to China, that is taught in schools."
(my comment: It implies that Hokkien is a Chinese language, while Mandarin is another.)

, and I have access to the first paragraph in Chapter 1 of 52, where it says:

"The debates are heated and open as to whether the 'Chinese language' should be in plural form, how to distinguish 'language' and 'dialect', and whether it is institutionally downgrading as a linguistic variety (Cantonese) by defining it as a 'dialect' while 'it is in fact a language'. These issues are controversial and highly relevant for any academic who tries to think clearly about languages in multilingual China."

Neither of these two books says that 'linguists also typically consider Chinese to be a single language'. If anyone has access to citation 51, it would be very helpful if they can provide a quote saying 'linguists also typically consider Chinese to be a single language'. Otherwise, that sentence seems to have only fictitious references. Lysimachi (talk) 15:45, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

Indeed, the sentence is clearly wrong. None of the linguists cited says it; even if they did, there are plenty of other linguists we can cite (indeed, we already do so) that say rather the opposite. W. P. Uzer (talk) 18:31, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
W.P, in the move discussion above, you repeatedly made the claim that we cited linguists who considered the varieties of Chinese to be separate languages. I thoroughly debunked this claim. Now you are saying that we cite linguists who claim that most linguists typically consider them separate languages. We don't.
None of the three sources are as definitive as I recalled when I incorporated them. Van Herk does say that "spoken Cantonese and Mandarin are...usually described as Chinese 'dialects'…" before himself referring to them as languages. These three sociolinguistics texts are, however, more applicable to backing up claims about the irrelevance of mutual intelligiblity. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 18:55, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
"usually described as Chinese 'dialects'" by who? Linguists? Lysimachi (talk) 19:32, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
There seems to have been some confusion, but all now seem agreed that the sentence (currently commented out) that claimed "linguists typically consider ... a single language" is wrong? The question then arises of what we can say on the basis of the three sources cited at the end of that sentence, which seem undoubtedly to provide valuable material. W. P. Uzer (talk) 07:21, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I think they might have more to say about the issue of mutual intelligibility, which is currently being questioned. I'll take a stab at fixing the paragraph and its sources, possibly finding more on general statements on stances regarding the language/dialect issue. Any objection to putting it in the article first or would it be better to draft it here in the talk page first? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:04, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
No objection from me. W. P. Uzer (talk) 17:50, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I do have an objection, though, to what seems to be some kind of campaign to remove from this article, and from many others around Wikipedia, any mention of the widely held viewpoint that "Chinese" is actually several languages. There do indeed seem to be different views on this among reliable sources, and many scholars seem not to consider it a question that has a definitive answer, but to achieve balance we should rather be adding more information about what different sources say, not removing mention of those that reach conclusions that any of us personally might not like. W. P. Uzer (talk) 19:40, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
That isn't the most widely held viewpoint, and the change is towards neutrality, using "varieties" instead of "language" or "dialect." — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:42, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
What about this edit, where a whole mass of apparently sourced information was removed wholesale without the slightest explanation? I haven't examined it in detail, but if you have, I would have thought you could have at least said why you were removing it. And on the question of neutrality, we are still stick with a decidedly non-neutral title for the article. Perhaps my previous suggestion of pluralizing it was no better, but can we find some way of dealing with this? Like simply calling it "Chinese" (this could reasonably be argued to be a primary topic for that term). W. P. Uzer (talk) 19:50, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
That was to undo this edit where a whole mass of apparently sourced information was removed wholesale without the slightest explanation and both lies and distortions were mixed with good faith edits. I went through the edits and sources used in question and made this subsequent edit that restored some of the better information.
I'm sure everyone is open to other suggestions, but I don't think we can consider the language to be the primary topic for "Chinese." If anything, Chinese people would be the primary topic. It may just be that "Chinese language" is the least bad option. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:24, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
If you read that edit carefully, none of the citations were removed. But your "good faith edits" seem to have remove quite a few references. Lysimachi (talk) 20:37, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Lysimachi, your recent edits were problematic in a number of ways.

  • You reverted to an earlier form of the article, removing recent edits with no explanation and then building on it with your own edits. This went beyond the language/dialect issue and went into style, grammar, and citation consistency.
  • You provided new, hastily gathered claims that contradicted researched information that you removed. For example, one of the edits you undid was a claim that linguists tend to use dialect when referring to the varieties of Chinese; this claim is backed up with a reference to Norman (2003). In your edit, you replaced this with the claim that scholars prefer "to use 'languages' for the major subdivisions." This, in a word, is a lie and we know this from Norman (2003). You then provide three citations, all of which fail to verify the claim:
    • You first cited Douglas (1873). I would point out that it's already been explained to you how Douglas is not a reliable source or that it is wrong to replace a recent source with a much, much older one, but there's no point because Douglas doesn't even say that scholars prefer to use the term language. He actually implies the opposite by making the case for not using "dialect."
    • You next cite Chappell (2006), though he makes no claims about usage by other linguists and himself uses dialect.
    • Even Yip (1980), who actually does use languages, makes no claim about general usage by linguists, which is what she should be doing if you're going to use her thesis to back up the claim about general usage. In other words, she is just an example, which is not actually a verification of the claim about general usage.
  • You cite Trousdale (2010) as backing up the claim of using mutual intelligibility as a "common linguistic criterion" for parsing languages from dialects, but she actually says the opposite on page six. So we have another failed verification. Moreover, even if you were to twist her words when she says "one criterion often invoked" as referring to the stance of linguists (which, from the context, it isn't), she's not talking about Chinese, which is what she would have to be talking about to back up the claim about Chinese (in other words, this would also be a WP:SYNTH violation).
  • You changed "Mutual intelligibility is not the decisive criterion in determining whether varieties are separate languages or dialects of a single language" to "In addition to mutual intelligibility, however, there are political and social factors determining whether varieties are regarded as separate languages or dialects of a single language." The authors cited are clear that mutual intelligibility is not the important factor involved.

For those counting, that's five failed verifications from a single edit. In this single edit you have repeatedly committed lies and distortions of the sources you cite, which is scholarly misconduct of the sort that will not be tolerated at Wikipedia. Even with the most liberal application of WP:AGF, your contribution prompts me to question your judgment, your competence, and your reliability as a contributor. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:54, 27 June 2015 (UTC)

@Aeusoes1: and @Lysimachi:, a friendly heads up that you both have violated are a revert away from breaking WP:3RR, and a ban would be the last thing either of you need because you're both good contributors. Maybe think about taking a break from this article or section to let the content dispute calm down a bit? Perhaps you both could even have a cup of tea. We all really care about the content here, and that's great! We don't have any deadlines, so things aren't as urgent as we tend to make them. The world doesn't begin or end with the wording of Chinese language#Nomenclature, and we can take our time with it without an edit war. Let's all remember to stay cool when the editing gets hot. Wugapodes (talk) 21:50, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think there's much need to disengage at this point. There was some confusion on Lysimachi's part, I think, because I didn't immediately explain my revert (I chose to first incorporate what I could from their edit). By the way, I'm not sure how you're counting, but I only see three reverts from either of us. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 22:04, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response! I did indeed count wrong. My apologies. It's fine if you don't want to take a break, just trying to make sure things stayed constructive and civil. Wugapodes (talk) 22:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for your advice, Wugapodes.
  • I did not remove Norman's main ideas. Aeusoes1's version includes these sentences attributed to Norman: "Conventional English-language usage in Chinese linguistics is to use dialect for the speech of a particular place (regardless of status) while regional groupings like Mandarin and Wu are called dialect groups.", "While using a standard of mutual intelligibility would see Chinese split into several languages,". The edit I made includes: "[prefer] to use 'dialects' instead,", "Additional objection comes from Jerry Norman, who uses dialect simply in the sense of a distinct local speech form (regardless of status) while regional groupings like Mandarin and Wu are called dialect groups.", "He points out that each of the major groups contains many mutually unintelligible varieties, and cannot be properly called a language under a uniform application of the mutual unintelligibility criterion."
  • Regarding what Aeusoes1 mentioned as 'the claim that scholars prefer "to use 'languages' for the major subdivisions."', this is the original complete sentence: "The usage of these terms is highly debated,[55][56] with scholars preferring to use 'languages' for the major subdivisions,[57][58][59][60] to use 'dialects' instead,[38][55] or to suggest that the language/dialect notions may not be suitable for these language varieties.[61][62]" Everyone is welcome to examine if authors in 57-60 prefer to use 'languages'. The title of Chappell (2006) is 'Language Contact and Areal Diffusion in Sinitic Languages'.
  • Regarding Aeusoes1 comment on "common linguistic criterion", this is the original sentence: "A major reason for designating them as languages is that they are mutually unintelligible, which is a common linguistic criterion for distinguishing between languages and dialects.[63]" In Trousdale (2010):"One criterion often invoked in attempts to distinguish between languages and dialects is that of mutual intelligibility" My comment: The criterion of mutual intelligibility is also mentioned in Norman, DeFrancis, Douglas, Mair, all sociolinguistics textbooks cited.
  • With Aeusoes1's edit, the sourced text removed includes:
"In English, the terms for major subdivisions of the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family include Chinese languages,[51] Chinese dialects,[52] Sinitic languages,[53] Han languages[54] and Chinese dialect groups.[38] The usage of these terms is highly debated,[55][56] with scholars preferring to use 'languages' for the major subdivisions,[57][58][59][60] to use 'dialects' instead,[38][55] or to suggest that the language/dialect notions may not be suitable for these language varieties.[61][62]"
"A major reason for designating them as languages is that they are mutually unintelligible, which is a common linguistic criterion for distinguishing between languages and dialects.[63] In his sociolinguistics textbook, Ronald Wardhaugh noted that mutually unintelligible Chinese languages are often called 'dialects' by the Chinese themselves.[64] Carstairs Douglas pointed out that the term 'dialect' gives an erroneous conception of the nature of the languages for several reasons.[57] First, a language variety called 'dialect' can be more than a colloquial dialect, but is spoken by both the highest ranks and the common people. The term 'dialect' also does not convey a correct idea of the distinctive character of a language among other such widely differing languages. Although a literary language in Han characters (Classical Chinese) was used throughout China, it was a dead language, whose relationship to the various languages spoken in China (e.g., Mandarin, Hakka, ...) is like that of Latin to the languages in South-western Europe (this analogy with Romance languages was also used by Paul Kratochvil[65]). Additional objection to calling the various languages 'dialects' is that there exist real dialects within each of them.[57]"
I would really like to know why some sentences which Aeusoes1 didn't comment on were also removed.
Now, despite your friendliness, Wugapodes, it should be pointed out that it seems wrong to say Aeusoes1 and I are both "both good contributors", because according to the "good contributor" Aeusoes1, I have added "new, hastily gathered claims" to the text, "have repeatedly committed lies and distortions of the sources", "which is scholarly misconduct of the sort that will not be tolerated at Wikipedia", and have cited "old", not "reliable", "inappropriate" and not "modern" source, while the sentences Aeusoes1 edited are "researched information".
I don't have as much time as Aeusoes1, who seems to be related to the tendentiousness (WP:DISRUPTSIGNS) (as noted by W. P. Uzer in his edit summary) in recent editing to remove certain references and information. There would be no end to the discussion, if it is only between two editors. Therefore, I want to call for opinions from other editors. Lysimachi (talk) 17:57, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
  1. Norman's claim was that dialects is the more common choice that linguists make. You removed this and instead used him to back up the claim that dialects is one of several choices. It's the difference between most and some, with Norman saying the former and you manipulating the presentation to state the latter. Even your second mention of Norman does not indicate that Norman claims his meanings of dialect and Chinese are "established usage."
  2. I have already discussed the merits of citations 57-60, as enumerated in your edit. I should add that it now seems from your comments about Chappell that you are guessing what she claims from the titles and abstracts of works you have not read, which should be avoided. As I said with Yip, even if she does prefer to use languages, this alone is insufficient for backing up claims about general usage.
  3. Many of the scholars you cite mention mutual intelligibility to argue against using it in language vs. dialect.
I apologize for neglecting to explain my removal regarding the synonyms. The long and the short is that you, once again, are using examples of usage to back up claims about general usage. In addition, as was explained to you at Talk:Chinese characters, not all terms are equal. Masking the predominance of one term over another misleads the reader. Even if we were to ignore those two concerns, you also seem to be, once again, neglecting the reliability of the sources you cite. I have no problem with Luigi Cavalli-Sforza as a scholar, but he is a geneticist, not a linguist, and his authority comes with claims about language in relation to genetics.
Finally, the claim that you cite Wardaugh making is already present in the article. Keeping it would be needlessly repetitive. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 19:13, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

A summary of how some references/content were removed that section in recent edits:

  1. The reference is old, so what it says is not important.
  2. The reference is not focused on Chinese languages, so it can't be cited.
  3. The author is not a linguist, his term usage should be disregarded, even if it was published in the peer-reviewed (WP:SOURCE) journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA. (btw, who peer-reviewed Jerry Norman's work?)
  4. Some terms/references should be removed, so that they wouldn't 'mislead' the readers.
  5. A similar claim is mentioned somewhere else (where actually?), so it should be removed.
  6. This work can't be cited because what it says 'contradicted researched information'? (This is Jerry Norman's Work. What research had he done to support his claims on p. 72, for which his work is mostly cited.)

The version Aeusoes1 commented on is this one. Where did it make a single claim about "general usage"?

The versions Aeusoes1 was trying to maintain includes: "The official Chinese designation ..." (Question: Did DeFrancis cite any source to support this "official" designation?), "Conventional English-language usage in Chinese linguistics is to use dialect ..." (Question: Did Jerry Norman mention "conventional"? If yes, what research/citations did he provide to establish that?), and in a previous version (which this Talk section was originally about) ""Linguists also typically consider Chinese to be a single language and its varieties to be dialects."" Lysimachi (talk) 09:05, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

For the purposes of crafting articles, it is not our role to question how John DeFrancis and Jerry Norman came to their conclusions – these are experts surveying their field. Norman's wording was "established usage", rather than "conventional", but that doesn't seem to be a significant difference. Kanguole 09:41, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I can't really tell if I'm being mocked. I've already provided numerous points on, for example, why Douglas is not a good source and, in the most recent round of edits, how he was cited to back up a claim he did not even make. If you read all of that and understood it as only "The reference is old, so what it says is not important" then I suggest you reread what I've written. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 14:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Kanguole: I didn't want to question how Norman came to his conclusion, until his 'conclusion', which is better described as his opinion, was used as reason to remove other references. Seeing you write "For the purposes of crafting articles, it is not our role to question how John DeFrancis and Jerry Norman came to their conclusions", I'd like to ask: why is it Aeusoes1's role to question other references and to remove them from this article? Lysimachi (talk) 11:56, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Norman wasn't the reason I removed other references. As I explained already, I removed the other references because you lied about what they said. Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 14:18, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
"This, in a word, is a lie and we know this from Norman (2003)." Lysimachi (talk) 08:26, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

RfC: Nomenclature section[edit]

Closed as no consensus. A discussion between three editors, one of which is a 38 day-old account, can't produce a WP-binding consensus for the substantial issues raised. LavaBaron (talk) 16:28, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Recently, numerous edits have been made to the Chinese language#Nomenclature section and there has been much discussion in the talk page (please see the two sections above). I would kindly ask all editors to discuss/comment on three things: 1. whether some references or works of some authors (e.g., Douglas) may be deemed unreliable for that section simply based on their time of publication. 2. the conduct of Ƶ§œš¹ and me in recent editing and talk page discussion. 3. the content of two versions of the section. Thank you very much for your potential contribution! Lysimachi (talk) 17:57, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

Regarding Douglas, the source was published in 1873, which is 142 years ago. The fields of sinology and linguistics has changed significantly since then. Douglas' book is outdated, so it's not relevant to the article when there are so many other sources that better represent more modern scholarship. As a general rule of thumb, sinologists/historians/linguists usually avoid citing 19th century sources except when they're discussing historiography or the history of linguistics, e.g. an article on Sinology during the 19th century. They can be cited as a primary source, not as a secondary source.--Khanate General talk project mongol conquests 18:38, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
I concur with Khanate General. A source that old is useless for this sort of this, and has become a primary source as well as a questionable one. No comment on the user dispute, and the request to review the two versions of the page is too vague. What are we supposed to be looking for?  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  03:16, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
The Douglas source is grossly outdated, as Khanate pointed out. I also think it could be useful still in certain situations of historical context, and it might also be of use for parity when multiple sources disagree on a translation. But in those cases it would be best to either have another source that agrees with Douglas cited alongside the source or notify the reader of the historical context of the source in the text (an 1873 source says XYZ). LesVegas (talk) 02:21, 6 July 2015 (UTC)
Khanate General & SMcCandlish, why is Douglas a primary source? Lysimachi (talk) 15:45, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
It's not that Douglas is a primary source. A source can be primary or secondary depending on the context in which it is used. It's fine to use the Douglas source as a first-hand account of how 19th century linguists understood the Chinese language, but the source is no longer reliable as a work of scholarly analysis because it's over a century old. As an example, it's acceptable to write that "the ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed that giant gold-digging ants were reported in India" in an article on Greek historiography citing Herodotus' Histories as a primary source, but not a good idea to claim that "Giant gold-digging ants existed in India" in an article on Ants citing the Histories as a secondary source.--Khanate General talk project mongol conquests 06:25, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

"Chinese languages"[edit]

In an attempt to implement NPOV language, I've gone through hundreds of articles that link to Chinese languages, which currently redirects to varieties of Chinese. To my surprise, most of these were better served as links to Chinese language, which makes me think that we should perhaps make Chinese languages redirect here. Thoughts? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 20:12, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

If someone goes to the trouble of putting it in the plural, one would think they'd mean the varieties of Chinese, so I'd keep the rd there. — kwami (talk) 05:50, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed and bearing in mind the amount of discussion generated over the language(s) issue above it's probably best to leave it where it is.  Philg88 talk 05:55, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
Before I went through so many articles, I would have agreed with you, Kwami. But with the overwhelming number of cases, it was clear that, at least for Wikipedia editors, the intention was to link to this article. That's why I'm bringing it up. I suspect that this assumption is incorrect.
I'm not sure what it is about the above discussion that would warrant keeping the status quo. Do you think you could elaborate, Phil? — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 06:51, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
@Aeusoes1: Sure. As is shown above, there was a long RM discussion over whether this article's title should be plural. The result was no change and the same thing is likely to happen again with a discussion on the redirect. The time taken by the discussion could be used much more effectively elsewhere. This is just my 2 RMBs' worth and not policy.  Philg88 talk 07:16, 23 July 2015 (UTC)
The discussion centered mostly around whether Chinese should be considered one language or a family of languages. This is more about what people mean when they search for the phrase "Chinese languages." I anticipate a different kind of conversation than that, though you're right that it could waste a lot of time for something that isn't really broken. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 13:47, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

@Aeusoes1: If by "most" in "most of these were better served as links to Chinese language" you mean all the infobox classifications you've been changing, those were me. I thought varieties of Chinese was the more appropriate link for genealogies of varieties of Chinese, as it is the closest thing we have to a language-family article. Other than that, do people often link here when they mean Chinese language? — kwami (talk) 23:13, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

If you look for the phrases "Chinese languages > Chinese language" and "Chinese languages > varieties of Chinese" in the edit summaries of my recent contributions, you can see that there are 261 instances of the former and 3 of the latter. The articles where the change was made in infoboxes takes up a sizeable chunk, but even among the others, the bias is still clear. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 23:26, 25 July 2015 (UTC)

Why is the Wikipedia article going with the notion that there is a "Chinese language" consisting of language varieties? That would be similar to saying there is just one Romance language and that French, Spanish, etc. are language varieties, or that there is one Indo-Aryan language and that Hindi, Marathi, etc. are language varieties. This article should be unbiased and reflect that there are "Chinese languages" (plural). Accordingly, the title of the article should be "Chinese languages" and its contents should reflect that instead of the politically influenced rhetoric of Chinese being one language. Foreverknowledge (talk) 06:38, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

What if I told you that the idea that Chinese is multiple languages is, itself a point of view and tailoring articles to reflect that would be, itself, biased? You can see the issue covered in the article, as well as at varieties of Chinese. — Ƶ§œš¹ [lɛts b̥iː pʰəˈlaɪˀt] 17:34, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

External Links: Langauge course[edit]

Please add MOOC Chinese course to external links. Supported and referred by U of Minnesota, Dept of Defense & MOOC-List: as listed CARLA University of Minnesota &

Info for inclusion. * [ MOOC Chinese language course]: Free Chinese course with Audio, Text, G+ hangouts, media, & Culture.

I will check back here for status.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:57, 27 July 2015‎

Oppose First, per WP:ELREG because the site in question requires a registration, it shouldn't be linked. Second, the domain is being spammed across multiple language articles (see Finnish language, Hebrew language, Hungarian language, Buulgarian language, and Chewa language to name a few). Third, according to the description, the curriculum is based upon the Foreign Service Institute course which we already have a link to, and that one doesn't require registration. For all these reasons, I don't think it should be added. Wugapodes (talk) 20:25, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Reply' according to WP:ELREG "should not be linked unless the website itself is the topic of the article" This is a Chinese Language wiki article and not a Organization, individual or Company that would have a official link. Again this is non commercial MOOC course, yes there is a registration so the students can keep track of their progress. Any external link that requires no registration is not considered a course or MOOC, it's just a listing. Which Search engines already do, so why have those listings in this Wiki/ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:56, July 28, 2015 (UTC)‎
That sentence covers things like Duolingo or Reddit which are articles about the website. This article is about Chinese language varieties, not MOOC courses. Whether it is commericial or not is unimportant for spam; you can spam non-commercial things as well. There is registration, and it is required, therefore it fails WP:ELREG. Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links, images, or media files and any inclusion of an external link requires consensus to be added and remain. Wugapodes (talk) 21:01, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Reply I have noticed that this site which has membership & commerical($9-$25/hr) is listed in many languages though out Wikipedia external links. And WMA which has been free for 6yrs and will remain free is deleted and called spam with out any dew-diligence? If I did the same thing list all the links like them and then offered membership would that pass mustard? BTW all our teachers do G+ Hangouts for free not ($9-25/hr like livelingua. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:23, July 28, 2015‎ (UTC)

Just because WP:OTHERSPAMEXISTS doesn't mean this one should. If you want your link included, you need to build consensus, which you're doing by commenting on the talk page. However, per WP:EL we don't have to include any external links and thus you need to explain why we should include yours, that is, what encyclopedic purpose does it further, and you need to explain why it isn't spam, and why it should be an exception to WP:ELREG. Also, as a general note, when you add links to multiple pages as your only edits, it tends to be considered spam. Wugapodes (talk) 21:36, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Marjorie Chan's ChinaLinks[edit]

I have added a link to Marjorie Chan's ChinaLinks instead. This "jump page" is a good starting point for everything Chinese, including language courses. LiliCharlie (talk) 21:26, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks LiliCharlie will hunt for link on ChinaLinks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:31, July 28, 2015 (UTC)
Now we've got two language learning links, one to content and one to a directory of lists of content. I don't see why any language learning links are necessary but this one is at least pretty in line with policy so I'll leave it for others to decide. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wugapodes (talkcontribs) 21:42, 27 July 2015‎
In absence of an authoritative source that tells us why to prefer one language course over all the others I'm in favour of deleting the link to the FSI basic course. Also I don't see why beginning students shoud be catered for but not advanced ones: bias & prejudice. – Besides, a link to Classical Chinese texts of the Chinese Text Project is like a link to Latin literature on a page called French language. Well, not quite, but there is a page Chinese classics on en.WP, and one called Classical Chinese as well. Finally: there is yet another page Chinese characters on which the link to the didactically most dubious YouTube video might be appropiate, though I feel it isn't appropriate anywhere on en.WP at all. LiliCharlie (talk) 00:14, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
I mean, I'm rarely a fan of EL sections in general. And I'm not really a fan of any of the external links on the page at the moment since I don't really see them as adding much to the encyclopedic content. But, like I said, they aren't really spam or clearly outside policy so they aren't as immanently problematic. Wugapodes (talk) 00:27, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

I don't feel a case has been made for including MOOC courses in the external links section of this article. It doesn't seem to add anything that isn't already covered by the existing links and hasn't proved to be superior quality. There's certainly no need for both language courses. Rincewind42 (talk) 04:49, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

characters vs vocabulary[edit]

The article is permanently confounding the terms characters and words and therefore very wrongly calls a collection of characters a vocabulary. - On the other hand the table of real meager vocabulary of the Chinese language, i.e. the 412 syllables, is not even given.

Chinese Language article on Sindhi wikipedia needs to be restored[edit]

Hi, I created redirect for making space to a renamed article of this article but it become blanked , hence previous was full of content, any senior Admin is requested to undo delete (Undone my delete) that article. the article is HERE...--Jogi 007 (talk) 03:22, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Each Wikipedia is administered separately. It is highly unlikely that an active admin here at the enWP will also be an admin at sdWP. You should go to the appropriate venue on the Sindhi Wikipedia and look for an admin there.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 04:17, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
I am Admin at SDWIKI but when I delete any thing (Article/category/template), I can't restore it. So therefore I requested here and such problem was also solved previously by the other Wiki admins on SDwiki. Thanks.Jogi 007 (talk) 07:13, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
I have rewritten the article as I could not restored the deleted content in-spite of being admin (SysOp) at SDWiki. I don't know why I have not given full SySOp rights yet...!!?..Jogi 007 (talk) 08:10, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
There is nothing anyone can do for you here. Most administrators here have no power to delete or undelete articles on other language Wikipedias, and this anyway is the venue for discussing the article Chinese language on this Wikipedia, not a place for admin/technical help. You will need to take it up with (other) administrators at the Sindhi Wikipedia, to see if they can help you or advise you where to get help.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 15:20, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

Unsupported parameters on Infobox language template on Chinese language article.[edit]

Can someone please fix the Infobox language template on the Chinese language article and check for unsupported parameters? -- PK2 (talk) 22:55, 28 December 2016 (UTC)

Data update[edit]

Tina977 (talk) 05:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)More than 70% of China’s population speaks Mandarin as their first language Tina977 (talk) 05:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)<ref> — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tina977 (talkcontribs) 05:16, 17 October 2017 (UTC) Tina977 (talk) 05:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)In hongkong, "according to two concern groups (Putonghua as Medium of Instruction Student Concern Group and Societas Linguistica Hongkongensis), about 70 per cent of the city's 569 local primary schools and 40 per cent of its 514 secondary schools use Putonghua for Chinese-language lessons"Tina977 (talk) 05:36, 17 October 2017 (UTC)— Preceding unsigned comment added by Tina977 (talkcontribs) 05:30, 17 October 2017 (UTC) Tina977 (talk) 05:39, 17 October 2017 (UTC)Base on the source that I provide above, which means in today's society, more and more chinese in Hongkong and Macau started to learn Mandiran (Putonghua) as their first laguage.Tina977 (talk) 05:39, 17 October 2017 (UTC) Tina977 (talk) 05:48, 17 October 2017 (UTC)"Written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in online chat rooms and instant messaging amongst Hong-Kongers and Cantonese-speakers elsewhere", which is incorrect, only part of Hong-Kongers and Cantonese speaker written colloquial ccontonese, mostly only young age people use colloquial contonese in chat room.Tina977 (talk) 05:48, 17 October 2017 (UTC) Tina977 (talk) 06:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)In US, many high schools have AP Chinese class, and colleges give college credit to those who pass the AP test.Tina977 (talk) 06:07, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

The first source upon which you rely is of poor quality - it claims, for example, that Chinese is the "New International Language" which is a patently absurd suggestion. The fact that Putonghua "is used" is a far cry from supporting the suggestion that this "means ... more and more chinese(sic) in Hongkong(sic) and Macau started to learn Mandiran(sic) (Putonghua) as their first laguage(sic)." What is your basis for your challenge to the statement that "written colloquial Cantonese has become quite popular in online chat rooms and instant messaging amongst Hong Kongers"? If you have a credible one, you might try editing that part of the article. sirlanz 06:40, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Intro about dialects/varieties[edit]

The current introduction part neglects Mandarin as a language/dialect, which has six groups of dialects that intelligible-unintelligible with each other. In addition, the order of dialects needs to be re-arranged (according to numbers of speakers). That is the reason I tried to update the last paragraph in the lead section. But it has been reversed two times with different reasons. To follow 3RR, I put this in the disussion page, and would like to know your opinion and idea. Thanks! :) --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 14:58, 3 December 2017 (UTC)

Simply not so. Mandarin is the first dialect mentioned and its predominance is emphasised (960 million speakers). Where is the order of dialects not appropriate? There is no comprehensive (or even skeletal) listing of dialects in the lede ("intro"), so your point is not easily understood. The lede is not meant to go down to the detail level in any event. If you have a specific change in mind, either spell it out here or go ahead and edit the page (with sources) appropriately. sirlanz 15:36, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
1. Mandarin has not been mentioned as a language in the lead. The third paragraph describes Standard Chinese and even mixed this two concepts (Standard Chinese doesn't have six dialect groups, for example.).
2. The current order put Cantonese in the first place, while it is a dialect of Yue language, not even having so many speakers as others around the world. So it makes more sense to arrange the order by number of speakers. By the way, please note the difference between Cantonese and other Yue dialects. e.g. People in Guangxi don't speak Cantonese (广府话) but Pinghua; oversea Chinese speak Siyi Yue or Taishanese, both are dialects of Yue but not Cantonese. So the information is even wrong.
3. Actually I have edited it, sources are cited in articles with inner links, but got reverted. I can simply add the source, after having one result in the discussion. If there is misunderstanding or anything, feel free to communicate. --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 00:15, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
It is not neglected. The Mandarin dialect group is covered in the second paragraph. The third paragraph covers the standard variety, while the fourth discusses other influential varieties.
The purpose of the lead is to summarize the article, so the level of detail needs to be limited. If anything, the current lead focusses excessively on dialects and gives little coverage of other parts of the article. Kanguole 15:45, 3 December 2017 (UTC)
1. Mandarin is neglected. The second paragraph just mentioned the number of language speaker, that's it. Just name and number. The third paragraph covers the Standard Chinese, also its official status and standard writing format, which has nothing to do Mandarin as a language group. The fourth discusses Cantonese and Souther Min, etc, not about Mandarin.
2. I agree the purpose of the lead is a summary, which better not place emphasis on any sections. But the summary means adequate coverage and correct information, and that is the current one is lack of.
3. I will put my old suggestion in below, I would love to receive some suggestions if it can be shorted :)
Mandarin is the most spoken Chinese language, which has six dialect groups, also known as the Northern language (Běifāng Huà). Standardized Mandarin is understood and spoken by virtually the whole young Chinese population nowadays, because of its official status in education and media. Dialects of Wu, for example Shanghainese, are prominently spoken in the Yangtze River Delta region of eastern China. Min is the most diversified language group. Its eight languages are not mutually intelligible. Southern Min, originated from southern Fujian, has notable dialect variants spoken in Fujian, neighboring region to the islands of Taiwan, Hainan and also Southeast Asia, including Taiwanese, Hokkien and Teochew. Yue is the primary language of Guangdong province and a large part of Guangxi. As the prestige variety of Yue, Cantonese is also the principal and official spoken language in Hong Kong and Macau, making it the only other variety of Chinese used in administration purposes, besides Standard Mandarin. Taishanese, another dialect of Yue, is widely spoken among Chinese communities in North America. Hakka is mainly spoken in South Central China, and also has a sizeable diaspora in Taiwan and Southeast Asia. --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 00:15, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
I don't see the need for more detail in the lead section, which shouldn't be longer than the current four paragraphs. Love —LiliCharlie (talk)
Agree. I actually have no intention to add a new paragraph, but to replace the current fourth paragraph which has many mistakes with my proposal above. --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 21:16, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
This article covers a very broad topic, and that should be reflected by the lead, which means that it needs a balance of very brief summaries of the various aspects. Currently it fails to do that. Too much space is given to one facet, dialects, with nothing on history or the Classical and literary languages, and the briefest of mentions of the writing system and linguistic properties. The coverage of dialects in the lead needs to be reduced, not expanded, to make room for coverage of these other facets of the article. On the other hand, the "Classification" subsection of the article itself could benefit from some expansion. Kanguole 12:34, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
Agree totally! An ideal one should cover more about its history, its writing system and others, if any is necessary. But at the moment, I think the current 4th paragraph is wrong and partial, so it should be either deleted or improved. What do you think? :) --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 21:16, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
As I was saying above, I think it should be removed, to make space for such a paragraph (probably in between the current first and second paragraphs). Kanguole 00:13, 4 January 2018 (UTC)
I have changed it to a paragraph of a brief history. --WWbreadOpen Your Mouth?) 17:56, 4 February 2018 (UTC)

Adding ISO 639-3 code for Dungan to the infobox[edit]

I wanted to add ISO 639-3 code dng for Dungan to the infobox, but I don't know how to do it, as dng is not part of macrolanguage zho. How can I proceed? Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 05:35, 10 August 2018 (UTC)