07 April 2016

How many languages there are in China: the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese.

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How many languages there are in China: the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese.

Do you know how many people speak Chinese?

About 1.3  billion! That’s nearly 1/5 (19%) of the Earth’s population! But this is not the only “surprising” thing about this language. Chinese is also one of the oldest languages in the world. Chinese scientists have found written sources from a period of over 3500 years. But despite its “old age”, Chinese is the only culture that has maintained the same writing system, even today. English to Cantonese translation is gaining more prominence, because more companies are developing relations with the East, primarily China.

Chinese characters are not “sounded out” but are rather used to represent ideas, for example : this () is the symbol for “person”, and  () - mountains, () – well,  () – a horse.  The words “above" or “below” are written as ( and ). But later, the amount of simple signs was not enough, and when people started to use certain phrases in spoken language, they started to combine separate characters into groups in written language, so 2 trees () means a forest ( ), the word “good” () is written as woman () and a child ( ) together, the character for “listen” () – is a combination of the signs for “ear” () and “door” (). 

Sometimes written language is the only way that people from different provinces of China can understand each other. A single written Chinese word can be pronounced differently in any of 50 dialects across China.

Mandarin and Cantonese are the most popular dialects of Chinese. Mandarin is known as the “standardized” form of Chinese and covers almost all China’s territory. So many people want to translate English to Mandarin, because of the high population and so many businesses in China. But in the huge industrial city of Guangzhou – capital of the Guangdong province, and in Hong Kong, the main dialect is Cantonese, and more and more people are now looking for English to Cantonese translation.

Over the past few centuries the Chinese government has pushed for Mandarin (the primary dialect spoken in Beijing) to be taught in schools and used in all public media, in order to improve communication opportunities across the country. Nowadays even movies, TV programs and radio stations use Mandarin - the official language in China and Taiwan. This is one of the reasons why Mandarin voiceovers are so popular. To maximize their communication potential, modern Chinese speakers now often learn both - their regional dialect and Mandarin.

Even Cantonese and Mandarin dialects sound totally different. Chinese people from different dialects often cannot understand each other.

Chinese language has a lot of tones, and the way these tones are pronounced can change everything – even the grammar of the whole sentence. Cantonese has from six to nine tones, while Mandarin has only four. What this also means is that Cantonese is more difficult to learn, which is another reason why English to Cantonese translation is in such high demand.

 You can see that it is not easy to speak these languages, you need professional Chinese translation services, but we can help you to translate English to Mandarin or translate Mandarin to English, or English into any Chinese dialect.

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