Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua)

The Mandarin Language

Mandarin Speaking Countries

Map highlighting countries where Mandarin is the first language

Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 955 million native speakers worldwide (that’s more than any other language!). This means that by learning Mandarin you unlock the potential to speak to over 13% of the world’s total population. Chinese is also one of the 6 official UN languages – the others being English, Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish.

As you might know already, Chinese, unlike most other language systems (e.g. European languages) is not written using a system of alphabets. It is instead expressed in individual “characters”, each formed by units of “roots” (symbols variously representing different shape, sounds and meaning). Chinese characters represent the oldest writing system in the world.

There are two different kinds of Chinese characters: traditional and simplified. Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and overseas Chinese communities use traditional characters. China uses simplified characters.

  • Traditional characters have more strokes, and take more time to write.
  • Chinese characters are always written from top to bottom, then left to right; whereas Chinese passages are traditionally written from right to left (vertically for passages, or horizontally for single phrases and names/titles, such as those above doorways). However, passages nowadays are also often written horizontally from left to right (i.e. the “western” way).

Pinyin is a way to write Mandarin Chinese with the Roman alphabet. In Chinese, pinyin literally means “spelled sound”. Pinyin is used by EIL to teach Mandarin as a second language. It’s a way to read Chinese without having to know the characters. Many Chinese street names are written in pinyin in China and Taiwan.

Curious to learn or improve your Mandarin, then simply call us at 2866 0608 or just send us an email by clicking the button below to know more about our courses, fees and availability

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