Language Variety in China

clip image002 thumb2 Language Variety in ChinaChina has 56 nationalities within its territory. The Han, Hui and Manchu nationalities all use the Chinese language, and the Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Korean, Yi, Dai, Lahu, Jingpo, Xibe and Russian nationalities have their own written languages. Most of these languages have a comparatively long history. Among them, the Mongolian nationality has a phonetic language written vertically. The Dai nationality in Yunnan Province uses four different Dai scripts in different areas. The Hui and Manchu nationalities use Chinese. Therefore, the above-mentioned 15 nationalities altogether have 17 kinds of languages.

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In addition, the majority Christianism believers among the Lisu people uses the Lisu language written with capitalized Latin letters and upturned letters. Local farmers in one or two areas in Weixi County created the bamboo script by using Lisu phonetic letters. A small number of Christianism believers in the northeast of Yunnan Province use square Miao characters composed of phonetic, clip image006 thumb Language Variety in Chinarhythmic and tone elements. A small number of Christianism believers in Yunnan Province use Va characters formed on the basis of Latin letters. Among ordinary people of the Zhuang, Bai and Yao nationalities, some use square Zhuang characters, Bai characters and Yao characters created under the influence of the square Chinese characters.

To sum up, China had 21 nationalities with characters in 24 varieties. Besides the languages enumerated above, there were some scripts once used in the history but fell into disuse later, such as the language of the Turks, the Huihu script, and the Chagatai script, to name a few.

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