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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

Filbert | Indonesia
Small Group Chinese Class

Before I came to Keats School, I had no confidence in my Chinese proficiency. I did not have the confidence to speak Mandarin Chinese and chat with Chinese people. However, after 4 months of study at Keats, I become more and more confident in speaking Chinese now. Studying Chinese in China at Keats School has been the best decision I have ever made. There are many games in the class, and my teacher’s teaching methods are also very interesting. My experience at Keats School has changed my view of China and Chinese people.

 

Viktor | Switzerland
Small Group Chinese Class

My school is amazing. I recommend Keats School because it is a more convenient way to learn Chinese in Kunming.

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.

Simon | UK & France
Small Group Chinese Class

The visa application was really straightforward, because Keats School helps us a lot with that. Keats has a big emphasis on conversational practice, so we learn a lot of vocabulary and daily life plans which is very convenient for us to go around town and speak with Chinese people which is the whole point of learning Chinese in China.

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