Chinese is a Sinitic language that belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family. The most remarkable aspect of this language is the use of characters as the writing system. These characters date back more than 3000 years and the first samples were found written on shells and bones (甲骨文) that were used mainly as divination tools. Throughout history, Chinese characters have evolved and their structure has developed up to their current written form.

Although “Chinese” is commonly referred to in general terms, this word often refers to Mandarin, the official language of China. However, Mandarin is only one of the several dialects that it encompasses, some of which are mutually unintelligible. The most widely-known dialects are Cantonese, which is spoken in southern China, Hong Kong, and Macao, Minnan Hua, which is spoken in southeast China and Taiwan, and Hokkien, which is spoken in areas of southern China.


The importance of Chinese

It is said that Chinese is the language of the future, fundamentally because the role that China plays in the current scenery is increasingly noticeable, not only because it is the main international supplier, but also because of its great development in the fields of technology, science, commerce, etc. At present, companies such as Tencent, Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, etc. are widely known, since many of their devices and applications have become part of our daily lives. Moreover, business groups such as Alibaba or Wanda, whose presence worldwide is remarkable, cannot be ignored.

Furthermore, an increasing number of students from all over the world decide to study at universities in China, such as Peking University, Fudan University and Tsinghua University, institutions that have great prestige and recognition internationally. It is a way of accessing great opportunities both personally and professionally. Besides this, it provides the chance to learn Mandarin Chinese and to get in touch with multiple cultural aspects that are essential when developing a professional career.

The institution responsible for the promotion of this language and its culture is the Confucius Institute, which has branches worldwide. This institution also organizes the official Mandarin Chinese level exams both written (HSK) and oral (HSKK).


Places where Chinese is spoken

There are currently more than 1.1 billion Chinese speakers worldwide, of which around 982 million are native speakers, making it one of the most widely-spoken languages. It is the official language in mainland China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Taking into account overseas communities or the diaspora, this language has more than 150 million speakers who use it as a second language in countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, the UK, etc.


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