If you speak the official national Chinese, Pŭtōnghuà, and travel around China, you will quickly realize that you often don't understand what the Chinese people around you speak. What happened?
Spoken Chinese (汉语) comprises of seven main dialects, Mandarin (官话), Cantonese (广州话，广府话), Hakka (客家话), Wu (吴语), Min (闽语), Xiang (湘语), and Gan (赣语). The Chinese dialects are not mutually intelligible but are termed dialects from sociological and political points of view. Most of the dialects are themselves composed of a number of non-mutually-intelligible sub-varieties.
The official national Chinese, Pŭtōnghuà (普通话, meaning “common language”), is a standardized form of spoken Chinese based on the Beijing dialect of Mandarin.
Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many other ethnic groups in China. Nearly 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language. It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
A significant part of the Chinese population speaks Putonghua for formal communication in government, media, and education, along with their mother tongue for less formal occasions, such as conversation at home, between friends and relatives, and entertainment. A typical example, local Shanghainese primarily speak Shanghainese in daily life and speak Putonghua at work.
The written form of the standard Chinese (中文), based on the logograms known as Chinese characters (汉字), is shared by literate speakers of otherwise unintelligible dialects. Thus, Shanghainese and Cantonese will write in the same language.
On October 31, 2000, the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language was hereby promulgated. This law takes the minorities into consideration, in which the Article 8 states that:
The spoken and written languages of the ethnic peoples shall be used in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the Law on Regional National Autonomy, and other laws. (Article 8)
The official Chinese version of the Law:
The official English version of the Law:
This Credit Insight is an extract from the book Happy Customers Faster Cash, China Edition and on sale at Amazon.
More companies sell on credit to their customers in China. This book shares with you, using statistical data, the true picture of payment behavior in China. It also contains lots of cultural insights for you to better understand the business environment in China. A chapter is dedicated to discuss various aspects of China company credit reports.
Alexander has over 25 years of experience in Business Information Management and Information Technology. Previously, he has held leadership positions in the world’s leading Business Information providers, including Managing Director of Thomson Reuters Asia, and General Manager of Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition, he personally managed Hong Kong's Commercial Credit Bureau while working with D&B, and the Consumer Credit Bureau through his directorship at TransUnion Limited.