When it comes to the Chinese language, we can identify many different dialects, both written and spoken. First we will discuss the two most common spoken varieties of the Chinese language: Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese. Then we will note the differences between the two main styles of written Chinese: Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
Mandarin is the most spoken Chinese language in Mainland China. It is the official dialect for millions of people: as of 2010, there were 960 million native speakers of Mandarin in Mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Taiwan and Singapore. On the other hand, we have Cantonese Chinese, spoken primarily in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou. Mandarin and Cantonese are very distinct languages.
As for written Chinese, we have Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Simplified Chinese is a modern form of Chinese writing, appearing after the 1950’s. It is said that Simplified Chinese was developed to encourage people to learn to read by simplifying the Traditional Chinese characters. It is used in Mainland China and Singapore. On the other hand, Traditional Chinese is the original text that has been used for centuries in China. Chinese speakers in Taiwan and Hong Kong use Traditional Chinese characters.
Of course, there are many more dialects than just Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, and more written styles than just Simplified and Traditional Chinese. If we go deeper in the subject, we can also find differences between Traditional Chinese in Taiwan and Traditional Chinese in Hong Kong! Languages never cease to develop and change.
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