Although the relationship was first proposed in the early 19th century and is now broadly accepted, reconstruction of Sino-Tibetan is much less developed than that of families such as Indo-European or Austroasiatic.

Difficulties have included the great diversity of the languages, the lack of inflection in many of them, and the effects of language contact.

After the fall of the Northern Song dynasty, and during the reign of the Jin (Jurchen) and Yuan (Mongol) dynasties in northern China, a common speech (now called Old Mandarin) developed based on the dialects of the North China Plain around the capital.

As a practical measure, officials of the Ming and Qing dynasties carried out the administration of the empire using a common language based on Mandarin varieties, known as Guānhuà (官话/官話, literally "language of officials"). After much dispute between proponents of northern and southern dialects and an abortive attempt at an artificial pronunciation, the National Language Unification Commission finally settled on the Beijing dialect in 1932.

The written form of the standard language (; Hànzì), is shared by literate speakers of otherwise unintelligible dialects.


In cases where Simplified and Traditional Chinese scripts are identical, the Chinese term is written once. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.The People's Republic founded in 1949 retained this standard, calling it pǔtōnghuà ( In Hong Kong and Macau, because of their colonial and linguistic history, the language used in education, the media, formal speech, and everyday life remains the local Cantonese, although the standard language has become very influential and is being taught in schools.The Chinese language has spread to neighbouring countries through a variety of means.Standard Chinese was adopted in the 1930s, and is now the official language of both the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.Most linguists classify all varieties of Chinese as part of the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese, Tibetan and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif.Nearly 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language.The varieties of Chinese are usually described by native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language, but linguists note that they are as diverse as a language family.Southwestern Mandarin), followed by Wu (80 million, e.g. It is the official language of China and Taiwan, as well as one of the four official languages of Singapore.It is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.Most linguists now believe it represents a diasystem encompassing 6th-century northern and southern standards for reading the classics.The relationship between spoken and written Chinese is rather complex.


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