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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

Hilary

Hilary | USA

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

I’ve had a really great time here. I’ve studied a lot with my teacher who was fantastic. Keats School tried very hard to match its students with really good teachers that their personality works very well together. I really enjoy studying Chinese at Keats and I will definitely come back.

Vanya

Vanya | BULGARIA

Small Group Chinese Class

I found Keats to be very good, teachers are excellent and really take the students seriously. Kunming is the best place to learn Mandarin in China. The environment is awesome, no pollution. The air quality is great, good weather. The people here are very friendly. I come to take classes every day. I feel comfortable studying Chinese at Keats. I learned so many things, although I only studied at Keats for 2 months. I am really satisfied with my teacher. For us foreigners, Keats is the best Chinese school in China. Therefore, I would highly recommend Keats to all of you.

Hitanshu

Hitanshu | UK

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

It doesn’t matter what level of Chinese you have, or even you can start from the zero level. Your teacher will prepare the lessons according to your requirements. The advantage of living in the school is that you will have your tutoring, you will have your private accommodation with your own bathroom and all the meals provided. I highly recommend everybody to actually take the whole package because you get to meet other students.

Martine

Martine | France

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

I really enjoy this place because we have private Mandarin lessons. I took the 6-hour program, 4 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon. Even though it is quite a lot, the teaching is complimentary. This is very helpful because I could review what I did before and learn new things. My 2 teachers are fantastic. We live in the school, so it is convenient. It is interesting to me to meet people from all over the world.

Paul

Paul | UK

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

All teachers are really lovely. The teaching level at Keats is so much higher. I really love the city. It is very comfortable to get around. I fully recommend Keats. It is a great place to study Chinese in China. We are looking forward to coming back again later this year.

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.

Alibaba

Alibaba | USA

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

Kunming is a fantastic city. The weather here is great. The school is excellent. The instructors are very helpful, very friendly. I strongly recommend that anybody who is looking for a Chinese language school in China come here to study. Kunming and Keats school are much better than any other place.

Andrew

Andrew | USA

Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

I am a graduate student working on my doctorate degree at Columbia University. We were able to really focus on speaking especially interview-style speaking and we are able to really up my Chinese reading and writing skills, so when I go back to Columbia, I can take formal Chinese classes. It has been a really good experience and I really love my teacher.

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