Talk:Mandarin Chinese/Archive 4

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Archive 3 Archive 4 Archive 5

a question about the headline ...

sorry ... i know i should not ask the question here ....

but i do not think that i got the way to speak out .... especially i do not know how to edit the wikipedia moreover ... i am afraid of editing the article ... it is because of making no mistake .

i am a native speaker of mandarin .... but i do not know why you all here make the headline mandarin chinese ...

is it not supposed to be chinese mandarin ? macintosh-- (talk) 07:56, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Good question. "Mandarin Chinese" is a short way to say it which we have to use in the title of an article. "Chinese mandarin" would be a person (that is, a mandarin) who is Chinese. I suppose you could have a "French Mandarin." "Mandarin Chinese" is the Mandarin dialect of the Chinese language. You can also have "Shanghai Chinese" or "Sichuan Chinese," though it is more common to say "Shanghaiese" or "Sichuanese."
Hope this helps. ch (talk) 20:50, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
Like ch said, it's fine to ask questions here, and his answer is mostly right: English language names are based on adjectives so it's a little confusing. That said, the order is important: a Chinese Mandarin is a mandarin which happens to be Chinese but we're talking about the kind of Chinese which happens to be mandarin.
However, it would be "Shanghainese" (with an n), "Shanghainese Chinese" (the Chinese spoken by Shanghainese people), or "the Shanghai dialect of Chinese". The first vaguely implies that Shanghainese is its own 语, the second and third that it's a 话 of 汉语. People can prefer different versions for logical or political reasons. — LlywelynII 12:01, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Requested move to Mandarin dialects

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was not moved. I'm note sure to what extent this reflects a consensus on the substance of the matter and to what extent it reflects a rejection of the initial proposer, so I'll say there's no consensus against a future RM. It may still be best to let the issue rest for a few months, however. --BDD (talk) 19:54, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Mandarin ChineseMandarin dialects(re-opening discussion started by a banned user but with many comments by other users) "Mandarin dialects" is the usual name in English-language sources for this topic (a group of Chinese dialects spoken across northern and southwestern China), e.g. [1][2]. The primary topic for "Mandarin Chinese" is Standard Chinese, so that name should redirect there. The relative traffic numbers for the two articles[3][4] suggest that the current arrangement is misdirecting a thousand readers a day. Kanguole 01:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

The current title suggests a conventional language article with a focus on the standard form of the language. But here the focus is on the variousness of the Mandarin dialects, with Beijing dialect presented as just one dialect in the mix. Other languages have similar articles with titles such as varieties of Chinese, Russian dialects, German dialects, varieties of French, Spanish dialects and varieties, and list of dialects of the English language. Of course, it seems like Wikipedia should have an article that focuses on the main spoken language of China, Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin language, Chinese language, or whatever it is you want to call it. But from the discussion immediately above, the consensus seems to be that this is not that article. --Relisted. Red Slash 04:14, 26 November 2013 (UTC) The Holy Four (talk) 16:11, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Note: The discussion was initiated by a sock of a site-banned user, and the closing admin may ignore his !vote per WP:BMB. Favonian (talk) 15:56, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
    • I have stricken the banned user's nomination and replaced it. Kanguole 01:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is, of course, that article. This article is about a coherent entity, reflected in our sources, and would have been called "Mandarin language" if it weren't Chinese. (We use the same convention for Maghrebi Arabic, another case where the label 'language' is problematic for ethnic and cultural reasons.) It is not about the various dialects, which are covered at varieties of Chinese.
    This request is disingenuous. It's actually a proposal to have this name redirect to Standard Chinese; "Mandarin dialects" is just an ad hoc name to get this article out of the way so the title can be redirected. And parallel to German language vs Standard German, and many other pairs of articles, it's appropriate that we keep the basic name for the abstand language rather than as a redirect to the standard language.
    At the very least, the proposer should be honest enough to include the actual motivation for the request in the request. If we're going to be consistent, we would need to redirect Chinese language to Standard Chinese and also Arabic language to Standard Arabic. The rational provided in the previous section applies just as well to those cases, and to many others. — kwami (talk) 01:57, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose again, given this is a new/formal vote. 'dialects' is opens a can of worms in a Chinese context, and just makes the title less clear. There is no perfect title, but "Mandarin dialects" is a notably worse as a title.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 03:13, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
It is contentious to claim that Mandarin is a language, or that it is a dialect, but it is uncontroversial to speak of the Beijing dialect, Nanjing dialect, Kunming dialect, etc, and to collectively call them "Mandarin dialects". That is what our sources do. Kanguole 16:03, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "Mandarin dialects" is the usual name for this topic in English-language sources. For example it is the title of the section on this topic (8.6) in the Cambridge Language Survey volume on Chinese by Jerry Norman. The term "Mandarin dialect group" is also used, though less frequently, but not "Mandarin Chinese". In fact the primary topic for the term "Mandarin Chinese" is Standard Chinese, so that name should redirect there. The current arrangement is misdirecting 1000 readers a day in a quixotic attempt to override usage in reliable English-language sources. Kanguole 10:40, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As you know full well, your bogus numbers are as likely to be due to bad redirects caused by the past history of page moves as anything, and so are not support for your argument. — kwami (talk) 12:00, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
The numbers of misdirections are real.[5][6] Apart from the disservice to readers, there's a continual problem with people editing this article thinking it's about the other topic, despite the hatnote and source comments to the contrary. I've looked through the move history and see nothing to explain the numbers, but if you have identified bad redirects, please fix them. If on the other hand you mean an article linking to Mandarin Chinese when the standard language is meant, well that's the common usage. Kanguole 12:16, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
As you say, if the redirects are bad, they should be fixed. There are thousands of redirects, though, and I've probably fixed a thousand myself, so you can do your share. Moving this article will not solve the problem, because many if not most of the redirects are currently correct, and will be made into misdirects if we do that. We'll potentially have even more to fix.
BTW, the same pattern occurs with German and other languages.[7][8] By your logic, we need to turn all of our language articles into redirects if we have a separate article on the standard language. — kwami (talk) 12:37, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
There are 26 redirects to this article.[9] Some are alternate forms of the current title, and thus equally inappropriate. Others, like dialects of Mandarin and Beifanghua, will need to be fixed. There are thousands of links to this article, but what is wrong there is that the name they use is attached to something other than its common meaning.
The relationship between these two articles (and the underlying topics) is not analogous to the German ones. In that case the thousands of readers are getting the major topic they're looking for. The reverse is happening here. Kanguole 13:08, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
How are you reaching that conclusion? Where is the evidence that readers are directed to the wrong article, and what is the evidence that the problem isn't bad links? You gave examples above of articles you said should link to the standard, but actually most of them either belonged here or were ambiguous. Repeating yourself doesn't make your statements true. You need evidence. — kwami (talk) 15:15, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
That over 1000 readers are being misdirected each day follows from the imbalance between the hits on these two articles and the relative importance of the two topics, as measured for example in the amount of space given to each of them in secondary sources. That our usage of "Mandarin Chinese" is in conflict with usage in reliable sources is easily verified from those sources (and that alone should be sufficient reason for change). So anyone searching for "Mandarin Chinese" is almost certainly after Standard Chinese. I don't believe I gave any examples above, but that most of the links to "Mandarin Chinese" are actually about the standard language quickly becomes obvious if one goes through the incoming links. I agree that Standard Chinese is a more precise and accurate term for the standard language, and I used to go through some of the thousands of links to "Mandarin Chinese" redirecting them to Standard Chinese when that was what they meant. But then I realized that the task was never-ending, precisely because that is what most people call it. The only place to fix the problem is here. Kanguole 16:03, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
You have no evidence for any of that. You don't know how many readers are being misdirected. You don't know how many are entering this in the search engine by mistake. That's all just speculation. And if we move the article, what will we do about the thousands who are misdirected to MSC when they really want this article, since many if not most of the links actually do belong here? When links are scrambled, no amount of page-moving is going to fix the problem. We simply need to go through them one by one, or else turn the target into a dab page. — kwami (talk) 16:38, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
I'll try again. The standard language is a topic of broad interest, as one can see from the shelves of books on the subject in any bookstore or library, while the topic of this article is of much narrower interest, getting only a section or chapter in a typical survey and book-length treatment only in highly specialized research monographs. But here on wiki it's upside down. The article on Standard Chinese gets 530 hits a day, while this one gets over 2000. That means that over a thousand readers a day are arriving at this article when they were after Standard Chinese. I think that's a problem. They would have got here either by searching for "Mandarin Chinese" or by following a link to Mandarin Chinese that an editor put in an article. But you've agreed above that "Mandarin Chinese" most commonly refers to the standard language, so it's not really surprising that readers and/or editors are using it that way. Kanguole 00:53, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
How does that differ from any other language? While you're at the bookstore, check out German, Hindi, Japanese, French, Italian, Swahili, etc. In most cases, what the books cover are the standard language, just as with Chinese or Mandarin. Does that mean that "German language" should be a redirect to Standard German? Consider also that when people look up "Chinese", they are most likely looking for the standard language (judging by shelf space at the book store), so by your argument "Chinese language" should also be a redirect to Standard Chinese. Compare the stats for Chinese[10] (ca. 4,000) with MSC[11] (ca. 600). As you can see, Chinese language is the wrong article, and needs to be move to "Chinese dialects", with the name made a redirect to Standard Chinese; that's an even greater priority than moving this article. — kwami (talk) 07:12, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Regarding this article, are you denying that a 2000:530 ratio of page views in comparison with Standard Chinese is the opposite of the relative interest in the two topics? Kanguole 15:07, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, or at least that it's been demonstrated. When I checked the supposed examples of mis-links earlier, I found that some were correct and that many were ambiguous, so that the number of mis-links at this name are comparable to or might be less than the number we'd have if we redirected this title. — kwami (talk) 02:35, 19 November 2013 (UTC)
It seems that the imbalance between the hits on this article and Standard Chinese isn't due to incoming links – I've fixed the incorrect links in the highest-traffic referring articles (accounting for over half the hits on referring articles) with hardly any effect on the traffic to this article or Standard Chinese. That suggests it's due to searches. Indeed this article is the top result in a Google search for "Mandarin Chinese", while all other search results on the first page are about pǔtōnghuà (with the partial exception of the Ethnologue page, which combines pǔtōnghuà and běifānghuà). That is of course to be expected, as we know that "Mandarin Chinese" usually refers to pǔtōnghuà. Kanguole 15:50, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The dialects as a group are correctly called "Mandarin Chinese", Standard Chinese is just one variety of Mandarin. Aɴɢʀ (talk) 12:13, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Who calls the Mandarin dialect group "Mandarin Chinese"? Outside of Wikipedia, that term usually refers to Standard Chinese. Kanguole 14:27, 17 November 2013 (UTC)
Mandarin Chinese is a term commonly used in linguistics. Ethnologue in its classification of Chinese [12] specifically uses Mandarin Chinese "Member languages are: Gan Chinese, Hakka Chinese, Huizhou Chinese, Jinyu Chinese, Mandarin Chinese...etc." Ethnologue's Mandarin Chinese is not referring to the standard language.--TheLeopard (talk) 01:06, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
As kwami will no doubt tell you, Ethnologue isn't a reliable source on classification. Have a look at the experts in the subject, e.g. the sources cited in the article. Kanguole 01:26, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Ethnologue is certainly relevant as far as COMMONNAME goes – the ISO names are derived from it – but it's true we do not want to rely on it for classification. The same for sources like the EB. — kwami (talk) 07:00, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. The proposed title accurately reflects the article's contents. Wikipedia is a general reference and, to a general audience, Mandarin Chinese refers to Standard Chinese. User:Kanguole's numbers presented above reflect this and, as s/he notes, quite a few searchers are being mislead by the current situation. (I put a pipelink in the hatnote to test the number of readers using the hatnote.) —  AjaxSmack  05:28, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, For the various reasons given above, especially that readers assume that "Mandarin Chinese" is what Wiikipedia calls "Standard Chinese" and search for the wrong term. ch (talk) 04:32, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose Unwarranted value judgement. All the other pages on other Chinese dialects do it the same way - Gan Chinese, Wu Chinese, etc. Seems odd to make this a special case and ruin the consistency. Hzh (talk) 18:52, 25 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - on procedural grounds. This is the second or third time a RM has been posted by the socks of the same community banned user, allowing the RM to continue just encourages more of the same. There is evidently no consensus and it should not have been relisted by a non-admin. In ictu oculi (talk) 08:22, 26 November 2013 (UTC)
    • Favonian has already left a note for the closing admin saying the sock's view should be ignored, and since other editors have made comments, that is sufficient. Kanguole 01:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • comment I have never heard of "Mandarin dialects" before. That may be because of my unfamiliarity with the topic, however, Google Ngram Viewer clearly shows that "Mandarin Chinese" is a universally accepted term. [13] --Երևանցի talk 04:10, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Many thanks to Yerevantsi for the Ngram, which strongly supports the move. That is, the items on which the Ngram is based (you can click on them at the bottom of the chart) shows that "Mandarin Chinese" is the "universally accepted term" indeed, but for the modern spoken language, not for the topic of this article. The list starts with textbooks on "Mandarin Chinese" which absolutely clearly do not teach "a group of dialects" (the topic of this article). That is, as Kanguole has clearly established, the subject of this article is not "Mandarin Chinese" in the sense which the Ngram shows is the common English usage. The term "Mandarin Chinese" in the Ngram actually refers to "Standard Chinese" and a reader entering a search for "Manadarin Chinese must be directed to the article "Standard Chinese." ch (talk) 04:59, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
You keep saying that, but it's no more true now than it was the first time. This article is not about Mandarin dialects, but about the division of Chinese called "Mandarin" in multiple RS's. As such, the current title is appropriate. If this were about Mandarin dialects, then I would support the move. Even then you wouldn't get the result you needed, because it would be necessary to create an new article at this name for Mandarin as a whole. — kwami (talk) 05:34, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
It's certainly true that the popularity of the term "Mandarin Chinese" noted by Yerevanci reflects its common use to refer to Standard Chinese. (You've acknowledged earlier in this discussion that this is the most common meaning.) The division of Chinese that is the topic of this article is precisely the topic of a section entitled "The Mandarin dialects" in Norman's Cambridge Language Surveys volume Chinese (ISBN 0-521-29653-6), which is typical of usage in the field. It is also called "Mandarin", of course, but that term is ambiguous (and nobody is proposing it here). Kanguole 11:52, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. bd2412 T 14:39, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
    • "Mandarin Chinese" is the common name of Standard Chinese, not the dialect group that is the subject of this article. Kanguole 14:55, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
      • "Chinese language" is also the common name of Standard Chinese. Shall we therefore change that article to a rd? And do the same with all other languages which have a dominant standard? — kwami (talk) 21:38, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
        • The argument for making "Mandarin Chinese" a redirect to Standard Chinese is that the latter is the primary topic for that phrase. (That's not the case for "Chinese language", which is often used for the family as a whole.) Kanguole 00:08, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • As reference for some who might come to this discussion without looking closely at the article, the lede says:
Mandarin ... is a group [emphasis added] of related varieties of Chinese spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. Because most Mandarin dialects are found in the north, the group is also referred to as the "northern dialect(s)". When the Mandarin group is taken as one language, as is often done in academic literature, it has more native speakers (nearly a billion) than any other language.
and the hatnote:

As the Ngram and the testimony of the redirects show, this is not the common name of "Mandarin Chinese."

Cheers, ch (talk) 20:38, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Attempts at dab'ing the article in the hat note and lead do not change the topic of the article itself. — kwami (talk) 21:38, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Name of this article

I was going to read through and address the points in the discussion above point by point, but it looks like some commenting is backing up over at talk:Standard Chinese and I should put something here. I'm going to just copy my work there; hopefully, I'll be able to come back in a day or two and fill in something more specific to the arguments made above.

tl;dr version

Same as what metal.lunchbox said above. His points were all correct and the opposition's were (with respect) not well-taken. The overwhelming primary topic of this namespace is Standard Chinese. I know this is a data point that is easily "corrected" by a determined-enough editor, but it should be illustrative of the magnitude of the mistake here that only 2 of the first 50 links coming into this page are trying to get "Mandarin dialects" or "19th-century Chinese bureaucrat-speak" as opposed to "the standard spoken form of modern Chinese".


"Chinese" (tout suite) is used when contrasting with non-Chinese languages; "Mandarin" remains (far and away) the non-scholarly standard when distinguishing this dialect from others within China. It's actually the standard even within scholarly use by a 3 to 1 margin per Google. ("Standard Mandarin" has become more common but remains uncommon by comparison with its controlling adjective, which is "Mandarin" and not "Standard".) It is the official use of Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia; it is actively used by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and the United States (although the last often defaults, like Macao and the UN, to simply saying "Chinese" as in this Census report). Type in 普通话 into Google translate, even on their Chinese servers, and it tells you the English is "Mandarin". Type it into Baidu fanyi and it tells you the English is "Mandarin". Do it the other way round and it will mention 官话 and 北京话, but the primary translation is still "普通话". Of the first 50 links going into Mandarin Chinese (some of them from major articles like D, dialect, and France; others from Chinese articles like Chinese numerals, Hong Kong, and Chiang Kai-shek), all except 2 want to be directed here and not to an article about the northern dialect family. (The two exceptions, China and Chinese language, presumably directly reflect the editors responsible for this page but may simply be conscientious editors deferring to the actual content of the page.)

relevant policies

Basically, PRIMARYTOPIC with generous helpings of USEENGLISH COMMONNAMEs. There are sometimes reasons to break perfectly straightforward rules like them, but none apply here. As seen by the incoming links from major pages, this page is currently broken as far as actual English usage goes and that's hurting the Wikipedia. We don't really need to move Standard Chinese over here but we do really need to have this page redirect to what people think they're getting.

The general usage for other Chinese dialect groups is irrelevant, unless WP:MOS-ZH wants to set some new standard. Whatever it is, it will have to account for the fact that "Mandarin Chinese" overwhelmingly means "standard modern spoken Chinese" and that any treatment of its related language group has to go elsewhere. (Fwiw, I'm pleased Cantonese language finally redirects to the language everyone wanted and not to Yue or wherever like it used to.)

suggested action

A move and fixed redirect. I like shorter English names myself (Mandarin dialects) but am open to whatever people feel like, even if it's something overlong like Mandarin dialect group or slightly archaic like Guanhua. — LlywelynII 13:20, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose. I'm opposed to calling languages "dialects". This would be like moving "Received Pronunciation" to "English language", and moving "English language" to "English dialects". The COMMONNAME of this topic is "Mandarin (Chinese)", so this is a perfectly acceptable name. The COMMONNAME of the other article is "(Standard) Chinese", so that is a perfectly acceptable name for it. — kwami (talk) 21:27, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
    I appreciate the resistance to labeling varieties of Chinese one thing or the other. If you can think of an alternative, such as "tongues" or "varieties" or an existing policy covers it, kindly share.
    As I copiously documented above, however, it is completely untrue that these dialects are anything like the COMMONNAME of this namespace, even on the current Wikipedia, let alone in general English usage. "Mandarin" and "Mandarin Chinese" here and in general English means the content of Standard Chinese, not this. — LlywelynII 07:39, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
But "Standard Chinese" is also a common name for it. The most common name is simply "Chinese". Shall we move this article to "Chinese language", then, and move the current occupant of that title to s.t. else? — kwami (talk) 10:46, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose anything with dialects as a can of worms when referring to varieties of Chinese. Guanha Guanhua isn't even English and is unknown in English outside academia/Chinese speakers. It's not ideal that there are multiple articles covering essentially the same language group with varying specificity but as far as there are problems clear introductions and hatnotes can be used to guide readers to the right article.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 21:47, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
    The proposal is not to call Mandarin (in the sense meant by this article) a dialect, but rather a group of dialects, which is the usual practice in the field. For example, in his chapter in Sino-Tibetan languages (ISBN 1-135-79717-X, p.72), Jerry Norman criticises a mention of eight languages in a map caption in National Geographic:

    If one takes mutual intelligibility as the criterion for defining the difference between dialect and language, then one would have to recognize not eight but hundreds of "languages" in China; moreover, the eight "languages" referred to in the quote are actually groups of dialects. Wú is not a language but a grouping of numerous non-mutually intelligible local forms of speech. The differences among the Wú dialects are in many cases considerable and it is hard to see how such disparate forms of speech could be considered a single language. The same is true of the other dialect groups: Mandarin, Mǐn, Hakka, Yuè, Gàn, and Xiāng. For the comparativist, Chinese is a vast dialectal complex containing hundreds of mutually unintelligible local varieties, each of which can be viewed as a distinct object for comparison.

  • "Mandarin dialects" or "Mandarin dialect group" are the common terms for this group in the literature. "Mandarin Chinese" is hardly ever seen in this sense, and is of course vastly more common as a popular term for Standard Chinese. This article gets over 2000 visits a day, while Standard Chinese gets under 550, which is seriously out of line with the expected interest in these two subjects. It would appear that over a thousand readers are being misdirected each day. Kanguole 22:28, 6 November 2013 (UTC)
    Kang, I take it from your comments you understand my reasoning and the importance of getting this fixed. (A) Could you note your support, then, or discuss your reservations? (B) I personally agree with you that these are (for the most part) dialects and the common name of the topic is dialects. For those like Kwami who take exception to the term, though, do you have any alternatives to offer? — LlywelynII 07:39, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
    I think I've made it clear that I favour change. Although you've called this section "Requested move" and people have started voting, that was premature, since you weren't ready to make a {{move request}}. As for a target, "Mandarin dialect group" is a little longer, but would avoid a plural name and might perhaps be clearer. (However "Mandarin dialects" does seem to fit with the exceptions listed in WP:SINGULAR.) To overcome the objection of inconsistency, it would probably be necessary to propose similar renames for Wu, Min, Hakka, Yue, Gan and Xiang in the same request. Kanguole 09:45, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment The problem of legacy links to other definitions is something we have in common with other varieties of Chinese, such as Cantonese. No matter where we move the article, we will have links that are misdirected. No matter which name we choose, someone will have to go through thousands of articles and correct those links. I've done my part, and can do more, but it's a huge job. (IMO it's a good idea to pipe the links w a completely unambiguous name, so that future moves won't screw up all the links again.) Also, the inordinately large number of people coming here instead of Standard Chinese may have something to do with the large number of links which need redirecting, rather than just people putting "Mandarin Chinese" in the search engine, and so could be evidence of past page moves rather than for COMMONNAME. — kwami (talk) 01:41, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Perhaps the links are a major factor – the daily hits fell to 850 on 18 April and went back above 2000 on 14 May this year, but I don't know what link changed then. But surely you don't dispute that the most common referent of "Mandarin Chinese" is the standard language? Kanguole 02:02, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
No, I don't, but the most common referents of "English", "French", "German", "Arabic", "Italian", "Japanese", and "Malay" – and, of course, "Chinese" itself – are the standard languages too, but nonetheless our articles on them cover the entire language, not just the standard. I don't see why Chinese languages should be exceptions to this pattern. ("Hindi" is an exception in this regard, but those articles are a morass, and not s.t. we'd want to emulate.)
Someone commented above about Chinese really being hundreds of languages, not just a dozen, but this is not supported in the refs I've seen. If RS's start dividing up Wu and Mandarin the way they already divide up Min, then I'd be happy for us to follow suit, but as long as RS's consider these to be languages (apart from the occasional divergent lect, like Oujiang), then we should as well.
Also, the claim that nearly all of the links that come here intend the standard language instead seems to be overly enthusiastic. In "dialect", for example (one of the examples given for a misdirected link), "Mandarin" is contrasted with "Cantonese", but they refer to dialectal differences within Chinese, not to the standard languages, and "Cantonese" directs to Yue. In "France" there is no link that I can see, and in "Hong Kong" one link to 'Mandarin' was correct, and one was incorrect – a common problem with terms that have a history of being moved around. In other cases we say s.o. speaks "fluent Mandarin", and while that generally means the standard language, so does saying that they speak "fluent German" or indeed "fluent Chinese". The Chiang Kai-shek article was this kind of situation: If we'd given the form of his name in German, we would have given the Standard German pronunciation but linked to the general German article. Similarly when we say a school offers a course in "Mandarin", or than a movie is dubbed in "Mandarin" – in both cases, you could substitute German, Arabic, or Italian, no-one would think it inappropriate that you didn't link specifically to the standard-language article.
Consider Sekolah Menengah Sains Johor, which lists the languages in the info box as Malay, English, Mandarin, German, Arabic. Presumably by "Malay" they mean Standard Malaysian; by "English", RP (Standard British English); by "Mandarin", Standard (Mandarin) Chinese; by "German", Standard (High) German; and by "Arabic", Modern Standard Arabic. How is the link to this article any less appropriate than the links to the generic Malay, English, German, and Arabic language articles? — kwami (talk) 02:30, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
You may wish to read that comment about hundreds of languages again. It's not a remark of one of the commenters here, but a quotation from Jerry Norman's chapter in Sino-Tibetan languages (Routledge, ISBN 1-135-79717-X, p.72), which should be reliable enough. He's not proposing a further subdivision into languages, but criticising the labelling of the dialect groups as languages, and goes on to say "It is fundamentally difficult to apply the terms 'language' and 'dialect' derived as they are from a different linguistic context in Europe, in a perfectly consistent way in the case of China." And for the most part, workers in this area do not attempt to; they usually speak of "dialect groups" rather than trying to partition them into "languages". So should we. Kanguole 09:39, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Chinese exceptionalism is no more justified than American exceptionalism. The problem of classifying dialect clusters into languages is universal, not something unique to Chinese. As for Norman's claim, if he has an actual classification or even list of mutually unintelligible lects, then we could certainly expand our articles with it. Does he ever say anything substantial like that, or is it just a passing comment? — kwami (talk) 10:21, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
The analogy with American exceptionalism is as ridiculous as the earlier analogy between Standard Chinese and Received Pronunciation. As I mentioned, Norman is not interested in classifying "languages", and indeed argues that such an attempt is misguided and misleading. He is far from the only worker in the field saying that the situation with Sinitic is unparalleled elsewhere, and explicitly rejecting such analogies. His approach is, in fact, the norm in the field. Kanguole 11:08, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
The norm in the field in that there is human language and there is Chinese language? — kwami (talk) 11:14, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
That is a straw man of your own construction. Kanguole 14:57, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
If he says that X and Y are not intelligible, but won't say what X and Y are, then he's not good for much more than a passing comment.
Every language is unique, but there's a rather silly tendency for linguists to think that the language they work on is more unique than all others. Doesn't matter what the language is, because what you are most familiar with is what you see best. It is, however, unscientific and should not be included in our articles unless we have good reason. — kwami (talk) 03:20, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
We seem to have drifted a bit. Regarding the question of the name of this article, we have Norman saying that to call Wu, Mandarin, etc "languages" is inaccurate and misleading, and instead referring to them as dialect groups. And indeed the usual terms for this topic in the literature are "Mandarin dialects" and "Mandarin dialect group", not "Mandarin Chinese". So we should use one of the two names usually used in our sources, not a term for which the primary topic is Standard Chinese. (I do not favour moving Standard Chinese, but rather having "Mandarin Chinese" redirect to it.) Kanguole 09:11, 13 November 2013 (UTC)
  • There is no Mandarin for any country besides China, so the current title is redundant. It is not so much a name as an explanatory note telling the reader "Mandarin" and "Chinese" are two names for the same language. If we can have English language, Swahili language, and Arabic language, then we can have Mandarin language. I agree with Kwami. All this stuff how unique Chinese is treats languages like they are kindergarten students, each one more special and unique than all the others. Nobody, nobody at all, calls this subject the "Mandarin dialect group," at least according to this ngram. The Holy Four (talk) 09:55, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

"Language" means a "standard language" or "lingua franca" anywhere but dialectology. The term "Abstand language" to denote a putative equivalence class of dialects with mutual intelligibility is linguists' jargon not at all known outside the field, and defining plain "language" to mean only this is blatantly against COMMONNAME, though Kwami has successfully, almost singlehandedly defended this during Wikipedia's history.

If this were uniformly wrong across "X language" articles in Wikipedia, it still would not be a valid argument for keeping it wrong in this case. But it's not uniformly true; French language, for example, is already almost entirely about the standard language, with the Dialects section only a list of links to French dialect articles and a map image.

Kwami, can you accept "Mandarin (Abstand language)" for this article, if it continues to focus on the dialect area not the standard? If not, what clarified title are you willing to accept? "Mandarin Chinese (Abstand)"? "Varieties of Mandarin Chinese" or "Mandarin varieties of Chinese"? "Mandarin Chinese language family" or "Mandarin languages"? Or rolling the content back into Varieties of Chinese? Any idea on how to move forward is welcome. --JWB (talk) 10:31, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Standard German mostly talks about its history and relation to dialects, and spends a greater share of its text discussing dialects than German language, which has a short summary of the dialect situation, as one section among many longer ones about the standard language. This example does not support the anomalous situation of Mandarin Chinese being extremely weighted towards dialects and history. --JWB (talk) 10:39, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Instead of attempting to craft new terminology for use on Wikipedia by extrapolating from French and German, it would be better to examine the practice of reliable sources on this topic. One issue is that a number of them say that Mandarin is not one language but several. Kanguole 13:24, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Refs are always welcome. — kwami (talk) 02:11, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I've given one above (Norman). Others (Escure, Mair) may be found in the article. Kanguole 02:52, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Kanguole, I'm citing the other language articles just to point out that in those cases, the main language article is primarily about the standard language and only secondarily about dialects. In this article, proportions and order are reversed with only the last 20-25% devoted to describing the standard, plus brief mention of terminology at the end of the history section. --JWB (talk) 20:20, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

In speaking of "other language articles", you are assuming that Mandarin is a language, an assumption that ultimately derives from Ethnologue having assigned it a language code. But since we have subject experts saying it is not a single language, that assumption should be re-examined. (Even the previous version of the Ethnologue entry acknowledged mutual unintelligibility between Mandarin varieties.) And that is why treatments of this topic in the sources do not follow the structure you suggest. Kanguole 01:47, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
It does not derive from Ethnologue or from the ISO, as you should know by now. It derives from a long history of describing Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. as distinct languages. Dalby's Dictionary of Languages, for example, speaks of "Chinese languages", and describes Mandarin, Wu, Xiang, Gan, Hakka, and Yue as "languages" and Min as nine "mutually unintelligible dialects". That's the general take in the basic lit. LaPolla & Thurgood, Sino-Tibetan Languages, also purposefully speak of "Chinese languages": "The three that are PP-V are all Chinese languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, and Hakka." Haspelmath & Tadmor, Loanwords in the World's Languages: "Mandarin Chinese is a language spoken natively in northern and central China ... Other Sinitic languages (Chinese languages) include Wu, Yue ..., Hakka, and the numerous and diverse Min languages". Etc. etc. etc. Lots and lots of sources describe Mandarin (meaning the entire Mandarin area) as a language; there are rather few sources which describe it as multiple languages. — kwami (talk) 03:18, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
The quote you attribute to LaPolla & Thurgood is actually from Matthew Dryer's chapter on word order in Sino-Tibetan. It's not clear which meaning of "Mandarin" is intended there. Thurgood's chapter on subgrouping in that volume describes Mandarin, Wu, etc as dialect groups or families. Norman's chapter on phonology of Chinese dialects in that volume says: "the eight 'languages' referred to in the quote are actually groups of dialects. Wú is not a language but a grouping of numerous non-mutually intelligible local forms of speech. The differences among the Wú dialects are in many cases considerable and it is hard to see how such disparate forms of speech could be considered a single language. The same is true of the other dialect groups: Mandarin, Mǐn, Hakka, Yuè, Gàn, and Xiāng."
Linguists studying Chinese have divided the varieties into a hierarchy of groups and subgroups based on a variety of mainly phonological criteria, not on the basis of mutual intelligibility. It's true that generalist works often make incidental reference to the top-level groups (or perhaps subgroups in the case of Min) as "languages", but specific treatments with sufficient depth to be useful as sources for this article tend to speak of Mandarin, Wu, etc as dialect groups and acknowledge their internal diversity. Kanguole 10:34, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we know that Norman says that, but evidently the traditional view is the only one we have in sufficient detail to be useful. Norman never does say which Chinese languages there are based on mutual intelligibility, correct? In any case, this is precisely why we avoid the terms "language" and "dialect" in the article title. By this definition, German is also a group of dialects rather than a language, as is Italian and many other "languages". In all cases, we attempt to distinguish the Dachsprache from the Abstandsprache. — kwami (talk) 18:17, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Norman's approach is typical of those who work in the field. To repeat: these dialect groups were not defined based on mutual intelligibility. Kanguole 19:06, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, we heard you. What you've failed to provide is anything that is. — kwami (talk) 20:19, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
A partition of the Chinese dialect continuum based on mutual intelligibility is not available – that's the point. We have dialect groups, not languages. Kanguole 20:29, 28 December 2013 (UTC)

Sign language

I have re-reverted the addition of the sign language to the infobox. It's not appropriate to clutter the infobox with things specifically about Standard Chinese, where this is already recorded, rather than the broader branch of Chinese. Kanguole 13:35, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

So, we should remove the writing system as well, as that belongs to Standard Chinese? And we should remove the scripts from all language articles if we have an article on the standard language? Of course encodings are going to be designed for standardized forms of a language. Chinese is no different than anything else in this regard. — kwami (talk) 18:49, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps we should also remove the writing system. This is not an article about a language. The sources on which the article is based describe Mandarin as a dialect group, many of whose members are not mutually intelligible. Kanguole 19:16, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
You keep pushing that opinion, but it's a minority view. — kwami (talk) 23:31, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
If you look at the sources on which the article is based, you'll see that the view of Mandarin, Wu, etc as dialect groups is standard in the field. Viewing them as languages is not. The subdivisions of Chinese were not determined by mutual unintelligibility. Kanguole 02:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)


Hi, Can we add tones for the current Chinese tones (I made an edit that sorta fixed the table) Or does that go under PuTongHua? (Or Standard Chinese?)

I also went thru the trouble of finding out the characters for yin and yang and qu tones... but I'm trying to figure out what they are actually called in China. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:40, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

What do you mean by "add tones for the current Chinese tones"? Your edit broke the table: the tones in Middle Chinese and modern Mandarin shouldn't line up because there have been changes over the period. The level tone has split into two, while syllables with Middle Chinese voiced initials changed from the rising tone to the departing tone. This is described in the paragraph above the table. Kanguole 08:13, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Western Mandarin; or, The spoken language of western China : with syllabic and English indexes (1900)

Western Mandarin; or, The spoken language of western China : with syllabic and English indexes (1900)

Western Mandarin, or, The spoken language of western China; (1900)

Rajmaan (talk) 06:21, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

This book is already linked in the "Further reading" section. Kanguole 08:15, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Requested move 21 December 2014

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: clear consensus not to move the article at this time, per the discussion below (WP:SNOW). Also, please note the reference to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Chinese)#Languages or dialects in the header of this talk page; the talk page of that naming convention might be a place to discuss the broader implications of the current setup. Dekimasuよ! 21:38, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

– The term "Mandarin Chinese" is seldom heard. "Mandarin" is more often used. Additionally, "Chinese" has a lot of meanings (political, demonym, linguistic, ethnic, etc.); the use of "language" would be more precise and appropriate for this page according to WP:PRECISION and WP:NCL ("Languages which share their names with some other thing should be suffixed with "language""). It also makes the naming more consistent with other articles on languages, such as English language or Thai language. The current "Mandarin language" page is an empty one that is redirected to "Mandarin Chinese". I propose to exchange the names of these two pages. Lysimachi (talk) 16:56, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose the common name is actually Chinese so deleting Chinese helps no one. In ictu oculi (talk) 23:32, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • oppose. Yes, the language today is commonly called Chinese. The article isn't called that as "Chinese" is also used for the wider language group, including varieties/groups such as Wu Chinese, Yue Chinese. "Chinese" refers to the written form of the language, used whichever variety you speak, is (written) Chinese, while "Chinese" also indicates it's the (official) language of China. Mandarin is one regional variety and can't be called just Chinese, so "Mandarin" is needed to disambiguate but it's still very much Chinese and that can't be omitted.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 23:43, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose per the existing naming pattern of the Chinese languages: You couldn't change the name of this article without also changing Wu Chinese, Gan Chinese, Xiang Chinese, Hakka Chinese, Huizhou Chinese, Jin Chinese etc. Abrahamic Faiths (talk) 23:56, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose Mandarin may be the normal way to say it, but Mandarin Chinese is better because for one, As JohnBlackburne said "Mandarin Chinese" indicates it's a language of China, and as Abrahamic Faiths said "Chinese" is part of the other Chinese variants' articles names as well, and also Why exactly should we rename an article that's had the same name for a long time? Maybe if the article's name was misleading, typed wrong, etc. but "Mandarin Chinese' doesn't sound very misleading, Also I don't think there's an ethnic group called "Mandarin Chinese people/Mandarin people" so I really don't see the point of renaming the article, And we've kept the names of ethnic groups as "___ people" and languages as "___ Chinese" and I don't think we've had any/much complaints before. Duonaut (talk | contribs) 00:50, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose (though the existing title isn't ideal either) – The subject of this article is a dialect group, not a language, for the same reason that Chinese isn't a language: it has too much internal diversity. Ditto for Wu, Min, etc. (Sino-Tibetan languages, p. 72, at Google Books) Confusingly, the terms "Mandarin Chinese" and "Mandarin" are indeed popular, but as names for Standard Chinese. Kanguole 00:53, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose There are unavoidable problems with the present title and its correlates in other Chinese language articles, as mentioned above, but this move would not be an (talk) 03:58, 22 December 2014 (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.

Requested move 31 March 2016

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: No consensus to move. Too many different opinions about this are listed, and given the last move request was not successful, I think this one is the same. (non-admin closure) Music1201 talk 04:52, 8 April 2016 (UTC)

Mandarin ChineseMandarin Chinese (group) – Mandarin Chinese typically refers to Standard Chinese and not the group of dialects. New title should still satisfy naming concensus. The WP:PRIMARYTOPIC of Mandarin Chinese is what is usually referred to as Standard Chinese (or just Mandarin) so this page needs disambiguation to be sufficiently WP:PRECISE (edit:added a guideline). Prisencolin (talk) 18:39, 31 March 2016 (UTC)

  • oppose. Mandarin Chinese (group) is a very strange name. It looks like it could refer to a group of people, or something else entirely. I don’t think there is any other language article named like that for good reason. Mandarin dialects would be better but we have had that discussion at least twice – see the archives. The current name is consistent (see Yue Chinese, Gan Chinese etc.) and correct, I don’t think moving it is necessary, certainly not to the suggested name.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 19:58, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
Would Mandarin Chinese (dialect group) be any better? In any case the current naming scheme makes articles like Hakka Chinese pretty ambiguous in the same way you're describing. --Prisencolin (talk) 20:10, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
  • move to a different name. The usual referent for "Mandarin Chinese" is the standard language, e.g. as seen in a Google Books query. That's not to say Standard Chinese should be moved, but is an argument that "Mandarin Chinese" should be a redirect to that article, per WP:PRIMARYREDIRECT, which means that this article should be moved to another title. Nor is "Mandarin Chinese" much used for the topic of this article, which is usually called the Mandarin dialects, the Mandarin dialect group, or just Mandarin. Of course we can't use the last term because it's so ambiguous, so perhaps we should use one of the others. Kanguole 22:26, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
Which other name ? It might be worth surveying the previous move discussions. Also I should have mentioned this earlier: the current name is not only consistent but in line with the guidelines. See WP:CHINESE#Languages or dialects; there are good reasons for the current convention, and for not using e.g. Mandarin Chinese (dialect group) or anything else with “dialect“ or “language“ in it.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 00:22, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
I was implicitly suggesting either "Mandarin dialects" or "Mandarin dialect group", both of which are quite different from any suggestion that the topic is a dialect or a language. The guideline you link to is somewhat out of line with practice outside Wikipedia, but this particular case is where it collides with the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC. Kanguole 00:36, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
Per WP:BUREAUCRACY just because something may be of line with guidelines doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done. I think this is one case where it would be better to ignore the rules and consistency since at the present the naming scheme causes WP:PRIMARYTOPIC-related confusion in way that none of the other Chinese variety articles don't.--Prisencolin (talk) 03:28, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
The guidelines are not rules to be blindly followed, no. But they exist for good reason, to describe the common and accepted practices, and as such are normally followed unless there is very good reason. In particular the language/dialect distinction is a fraught one when dealing with varieties of Chinese. Some people say there is only one Chinese language, and the rest are all dialects of it. Others say that the different branches, and even individual varieties within them, are different languages. Mandarin in particular has varieties which are mutually unintelligible with Standard Chinese, and so by some definitions consists of more than one language.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 18:59, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
The problem is, for most people, including some sinologists I'd presume, Mandarin Chinese is synonynous with Standard Chinese. From a article titling standpoint, I agree for now that article about Northern/Southwest dialect group should have "Mandarin Chinese" in the title, but it needs some sort of disambiguation to distinguish it from the specific, standard form, and additionally the Mandarin Chinese page should be dab or redirect. One net positive of this that specifically pertains to Wikipedia is that editors seeking to link to Standard Chinese, but unaware of the difference between Mandarin Standard and the variety/group would be linking to the right page.--Prisencolin (talk) 01:32, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Make it a disambiguation page. A lot of people believe Mandarin Chinese refers to Standard Chinese, that's true. However expert sinologists understand the term as referring to a group of dialects/topolect many of whom are mutually unintelligible. See also Talk:Standard Chinese#Move. Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 23:28, 31 March 2016 (UTC)
    Well Mandarin is already a disambiguation page, but who uses the compound form "Mandarin Chinese" for the dialect group apart from Ethnologue (which conflates the two topics) and its copiers? Kanguole 00:05, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
    Our naming conventions do, for instance. Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 05:31, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
    I was more interested in the experts in the outside world that Wikipedia is supposed to follow. Kanguole 11:44, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
    For experts the characterization as "Chinese" is usually as redundant as the "language" of "English language" is. In Wikipedia however these are necessary, as Mandarin and English are used in several extralinguistic senses. The Wikipedia convention for Sinitic is to give articles names like Wu Chinese, Min Chinese, Hakka Chinese, Yue Chinese etc., circumventing the labels "language" and "dialect" that are used for most non-Sinitic linguistic varieties. Love —LiliCharlie (talk) 12:25, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. People who confuse Standard Chinese and Mandarin Chinese are served by the hatnote. The current title is the most succint and precise one possible and follows the standard naming conventions for language-related articles. To move only this article is to create disorder in our articles without any good reason. Not all articles can be located where all people expected them to be; if someone looking for Standard Chinese arrives here, it creates a learning moment for that person. --JorisvS (talk) 05:26, 1 April 2016 (UTC)
  • I pulled the definitions of "Mandarin" listed in several major English dictionaries in order to determine the WP:PRIMARYTOPIC of the phrase as pertaining to language:
Mandarin dictionary definitions
Oxford Dictionary of English

The standard literary and official form of Chinese based on the Beijing dialect, spoken by over 730 million people: [AS MODIFIER]: Mandarin Chinese

Oxford English Dictionary

2. In form Mandarin.
a. The form of the Chinese language formerly used by officials and educated people generally; any of the varieties of this used as a standard language in China, spec. the Northern variety, which forms the basis of putonghua (see putonghua n.). Cf. earlier mandarin tongue n. at Compounds 1a and Kuo-yü n.

Merriam Webster

Mandarin : the official language of China

American Heritage Dictionary

1. Any of a group of related dialects of Chinese spoken principally in the north and west of China.
2. The official national standard spoken language of China, based on the Mandarin dialect spoken in and around Beijing. Also called Guoyu, Putonghua.

Collins English Dictionary

the official language of China since 1917; the form of Chinese spoken by about two thirds of the population and taught in schools throughout China See also Chinese, Pekingese

--Prisencolin (talk) 06:25, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

  • Comment. I should have made you aware earlier of various nominations of redirects starting with Wikipedia:Redirects for discussion/Log/2016 April 1#Mandarin (linguistics) (the others are largely listed the same day). That crossrefs here but I forgot to crossref the other way about. I didn't nominate that one (User:Prisencolin did) but I nominated several others that were changed as the result of a move on 31 March by same user, before this discussion opened. Si Trew (talk) 19:13, 4 April 2016 (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.