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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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HAVE STUDIED AT KEATS

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.

Ben | USA
Small Group Chinese Class

My first semester that I studied at another school, and the pressure there was pretty high, the classroom hour was long, and the homework was pretty tedious. Since I came to Keats, I found I have a lot more opportunities to speak in the classroom. My classmates all are fluent and love speaking and participating in the class. We have great classroom dynamic.

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.

星河明 | Japan
Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

I took the one-on-one Intensive Chinese class for 6 hours a day. The classes are very interesting. The teachers are caring and the content the teacher teaches me is suitable for my level. It is an easy way to learn Mandarin. I have a lot of time practicing Chinese in class. The food is great here. I have improved my Chinese through this program at Keats.

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.

Sarah | Dubai
Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

My teachers are all excellent. They trained the teachers so professionally. I feel like I learn very quickly with my teacher. They are very serious about their students and I know every teacher is like this. I would highly recommend that you come to Keats if you are looking for the best Chinese school in China.

杜文宇 | Netherlands
Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

So during my first week at Keats, I didn’t dare to speak any Chinese words. I found out that my Chinese level quickly improved since then. Although I have many options to study in China, for example, some other schools have homestay, I found I could immerse myself and fully focus on learning Chinese by staying at Keats.

Nicholas | Canada
Intensive One on One Chinese Classes

At Keats, I have a lot of opportunities to practice what I have learned. I really like this school, because I can learn Chinese in one-on-one style, so I think this is the best immersion program in China and my teacher is the best teacher. I feel that without my teacher, my Chinese will definitely not improve so much. I’m very happy because, at Keats, I have improved my Chinese significantly.

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