Mandarin Language

Standard Mandarin, or Standard Chinese, is the official language spoken in mainland China and Taiwan, and it is one of the four official languages of Singapore.  Standard Mandarin is also known as Putonghua in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, Gwok Yu in Taiwan and as Huayu in Malaysia and Singapore.


Living Language
Mandarin Audio CDs

Mandarin Vocabulary
6 Page Guide

Paul Noble
Mandarin for Beginners

Yi Ren Mandarin
for Beginners

Pimsleur Mandarin Level 1
Lessons 1-5

The term “Mandarin” was first used by the Portuguese to refer to officials because they thought that the Sanskrit word mantra or mentri was similar to the Portuguese word mandar (to order someone to do something).  Because the officials issued orders the Portuguese called them mandarins.  Then the word mandarin came to mean the language that the officials spoke amongst themselves.

There were many changes made in Standard Mandarin in the 20th century. Daily conversation no longer contains many of the formal, polite and humble words previously used in imperial China e.g. jian – my humble, and gui – your honorable.

In both mainland China and Taiwan the educational system and the media have used Standard Mandarin and this has led greatly to the spread of it. As a result, most people in mainland China and Taiwan speak Standard Mandarin fluently. In December 2004, the first survey of language use in the People’s Republic of China revealed that 53% of its population, about 700 million people, could communicate in Standard Mandarin.

Standard Cantonese was the main language used by the majority of the population of Hong Kong prior to the British handover of Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997 and by the population of Macau  prior to the Portuguese handover of Macau to China on 20 December 1999.  Since then Standard Mandarin has become slightly more understood but not yet widely spoken by these two territories and is used by the two governments to communicate with officialdom in China.  Cantonese still remains the official government language of Hong Kong and Macau for internal communication and there is no official intent to have Standard Mandarin replace the regional languages.

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3 thoughts on “Mandarin Language”

  1. Hello everyone,I am a chinses male live in Shanghai.Now working for a Spanish company.My english is not flunlty.so I want make some foregin friends.I can teach chinese and you can teach english…we can help each other…so if you need..don’t hesitate to contract me ….my email adress:zoujinhuan@126.com

  2. Best Way To Learn Mandarin

    If you want to become fluent in Mandarin Chinese you should find out best ways to learn and understand the Chinese language. Below are some expert tips for being successful in learning this language.

    Watch Chinese movies, listen to Chinese music

    Beginners may find it difficult to pick up the language initially and might feel bored while reading Chinese. But, if you really need to learn this language you can start enjoying the language by watching Chinese TV shows and music videos and, reading book of your choice.

    Make Chinese friends

    You can find many chatting sites, which connect people. You can join Chinese chat rooms and start communicating with people in Chinese language. This can help you to know what they speak and will make you aware of great Chinese words. Also, you can make a Chinese friend in your university or workplace. He/she will correct you when you make mistakes. This is one of the best way to learn mandarin.

    Don’t give up and keep trying

    To get success you should stick to your schedule despite of hurdles you face. If the above mentioned sources are not so helpful then you can communicate with your online tutor and get motivated.
    E-Putonghua has many tutors available anytime for you to practice Chinese, enrol now.

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  3. “In December 2004, the first survey of language use in the People’s Republic of China revealed that 53% of its population, about 700 million people, could communicate in Standard Mandarin.”

    It’s December 2017 now and I could safely assume that about over 90% of the population in China could communicate in Mandarin to some extend.

    Quite interested to learn about the “origin” of the term “Mandarin”. But the story I previously heard is that it was actually “Man Da Ren” – the Officials of the Qing Dynasty. Not sure which one is really true.

    But thanks for sharing!

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