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THE MANDARIN LANGUAGE: A BRIEF HISTORY

The Mandarin language is the most widely spoken form of Chinese. Not only is it spoken in all of China, but it’s also spoken across the whole globe.

We wanted to give you a brief history of the language. Once you finish reading this, not only will you want to learn the language, but you’ll know the great history behind it too.

WHERE DOES MANDARIN COME FROM?

Until the early years of the 20th century, China didn’t have a single national language. Eventually, most Chinese residents thought that the country needed a common language to unite, facilitate national communication, and combat widespread illiteracy.

Mandarin Chinese, also known as Huayu (language of Chinese), Guoyu (national language) or Putonghua (common language) is the official language of mainland China and has been since 1982 and of Taiwan since 1932.

It’s also one of the four official languages of Singapore and is one of the eight official languages of the United Nations.

Mandarin is shaped and based on the Beijing dialect and other northern Chinese dialects.

THE FOUR SUBGROUPS


Mandarin is often split up into four subgroups.

Northern Mandarin – centering on Beijing and spoken in northern China and the Northeast provinces.

Northwestern Mandarin – Spoken northward from the city of Baoji and through most of northwestern China.

Southwestern Mandarin – Centering on the area around Chongqing and spoken in Sichuan and adjoining parts of the southwestern part of China.

Southern Mandarin – Also known as lower Yangtze, Mandarin is spoken in the area centering around Nanjing.

THE CHARACTERS


There are two types of writing systems in Mandarin, the traditional characters and the simplified characters.

Most of Mainland China and Singapore use simplified characters because they have fewer strokes than traditional characters. Hong Kong and Taiwan do however still use traditional characters.

At Keats School in Kunming, China, teachers teach students to write simplified Chinese characters because they’re most commonly used. Not only are they easy to learn and understand, but the simple characters are easier to memorize too.

During a Keats one-on-one intensive 4-hour class, students learn 10 to 30 characters.

THE 4 TONES

We’ve mentioned it before, the Mandarin language has 4 different tones. That can seem quite confusing when your first language is not tonal, but we’re here to help you.

To break it down, the same syllable can be pronounced with 4 different tones. This means one word in Chinese has four different meanings.

The second tone rises moderately. In English, this is when we raise our voice when asking a question. The third tone falls and then rises. The fourth tone starts high and drops sharply.

FASTEST GROWING LANGUAGE IN THE WORLD


Hold onto your hats; Mandarin is quickly becoming the fastest-growing language in the world. If you want to learn it, your neighbor has probably thought about it, and business professionals recommend learning the language.

People from all over are trying to learn it, and we know this because every year, students from across the globe come to Keats School to practice.

Mandarin Chinese is the language for business, education and tourism.

It got a huge boost when Facebook CEO & Founder Mark Zuckerberg took a group of students at Beijing University by surprise when he gave a speech in Mandarin for them. Other famous faces making the Mandarin language popular include former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and Prince William.

Prince William gave an interview in Mandarin after wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year.

LEARN MANDARIN TODAY

Now that you know a brief history of the Mandarin language, it’s time to get your books out. Keats School in Kunming, China, has eight different study abroad programs with flexible start times. To learn more about Keats School and the Chinese language programs, contact us today.

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OVER 7300+ STUDENTS HAVE STUDIED AT KEATS

Aliza

Aliza | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I found Keats School and I am so glad that I did. When you learn Chinese in China at Keats, you are fully being taken care of. My teacher is really great and we become lovely friends.

Ida

Ida | Italy

Small Group Chinese Class

I have studied at Keats for 2 semesters. I highly recommend Keats School. If you are very interested in taking a Mandarin course in China, I would suggest you come to Kunming. Kunming people are very friendly. The weather in Kunming is great. So I recommend that you study Chinese at Keats in Kunming.

Sully

Sully | France

Small Group Chinese Class

All my classmates stay together for one year and we improved so much! The teachers at Keats are all very great. They like to organize a lot of activities to help us learn Chinese. I like Keats! I like Kunming!

Sylvia

Sylvia | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

One thing I really liked was that I was able to work with my teacher to make an individual plan of study. Another really nice thing is that you live at the school, you feel completely safe.  You always have a group of people who are willing to do things with you on the weekends or in the evenings. They are serving you all the 3 meals a day, the food was excellent.

Mike

Mike | Australia

Small Group Chinese Class

I think Kunming is a great city, the weather is really good. I really like Keats school and found it is very organized. The teachers here are very good. They have a coffee shop and new classrooms, a new lounge area here now, so you can chill out with your friends and practice your spoken Chinese with natives. If you’re considering coming to Keats to study, I would really recommend it. It’s the best place to learn Mandarin and I think it will be a great experience for you.

 

Judith

Judith | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

Listening and speaking in the classroom every day has improved my communication skills. After three weeks, my new words and sentences became more and more natural and fluent. Now I am used to thinking in Chinese, and I understand better what other people say, to be able to have real conversations with other people.

SJOERD

SJOERD | Netherlands

Small Group Chinese Class

We use a lot of games to learn grammar and new words. We have really good teachers, really patient. She helps us a lot. Our class is really nice and we have people from all over the world, different countries. We often discuss topics in Chinese in our class. I live in the dorm of Keats. It is very convenient. I don’t have to spend time traveling. You can just focus on learning Chinese.

Matteo

Matteo | Italy

Small Group Chinese Class

I really enjoy studying Chinese in Kunming at Keats. The teachers are great and my classmates are awesome. It is an unforgettable experience for me. I also got the chance to travel to other places in Yunnan. Those places are amazing and you definitely need to visit these places when you study Chinese in China at Keats.

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