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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

Josh

Josh | USA

Small Group Chinese Class

I really had a wonderful experience at the school. The teachers are very very friendly. In my class, we practice speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We play games and other fun activities. We have trips around town. The staff at Keats is phenomenal. My teacher is one of the best teachers I have ever had in my educational experience. She comes in with a smile every day.

嶋田京子

嶋田京子 | Japan

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

Kunming’s scenery is very beautiful. It is the best place to study Chinese in China. My favorite learning method at Keats School is one-on-one because it is suitable for everyone. My teacher is very good, very caring, and lovely. My life when learning Chinese in Kunming is very good and the weather is very good. The air is very good. It is good for the elderly’s body.

Claudia

Claudia | Australia

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I’ve been at Keats school and Kunming now for one month doing the one-on-one Chinese lessons with two different teachers. I really enjoy it. Both of my teachers are very friendly and patient. They really helped me to improve my Chinese, both of my reading and speaking. I really enjoy studying Chinese in Kunming as well. This city is really beautiful and the weather is nice, the air is clean. It’s one of the best cities in China to study Chinese.

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.

Jean

Jean | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I can’t tell you how much I liked it. The thing I liked about the teachers and the teaching method is that there is so much flexibility. The other thing I liked about the teaching is the combination of classic textbook learning and going outside. I loved it! I like getting to know other students. Everybody shared the same goal and that’s making their Chinese better. Kunming is a big city, but it is very safe to live here. Another thing I liked about Keats is the idea that people here help you. I can’t recommend it enough. I think it was a valuable experience. Looking forward to coming back!

Ramji

Ramji | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

The best part of the school is the patience the instructors had and the time to focus on the fundamentals like pronunciation. I think it is very easy to skip over those and go to vocabulary. But by learning the pronunciation, I feel like it helped me gain a better understanding of the language.

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.

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