Curiosities about standard Chinese!

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Curiosities about standard Chinese!

Have you ever wondered the stories and curiosities that lie behind the standard mandarin or Putonghua? Let’s see some of them!

It wasn’t always Putonghua

In the past, there was another way to express the Chinese standard. Indeed, the term Guóyǔ (國語/国语)or the “national language”, had previously been used by the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty of China to refer to the Manchurian language. Today it’s still used in Taiwan. The term Pǔtōnghuà (普通话) or the “common tongue”, is dated back to 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate Modern Standard Mandarin from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese. Conceptually, the national language contrasts with the common tongue by emphasizing the aspect of legal authority.

Putonghua

Standard Mandarin Text for Chinese natives?!

Yes, you read well! China is huge and there are many people who speak different dialects so is a common thing that not everyone is able to speak standard Chinese perfectly.

The Putonghua Proficiency Test or Putonghua Shuiping Ceshi (PSC) is an official test of spoken fluency in Standard Chinese(Mandarin) intended for native speakers of Chinese languages. The test was developed in October 1994 by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, the Institute of Applied Linguistics at Beijing Language and Culture University. Specified standards of achievement in the test are required for many jobs in broadcasting, education, and government.

Putonghua

Beijinghua and Putonghua are not the same things

Linguistic experts say that Beijinghua was heavily influenced by the Manchu language. At the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, when Manchu people who lived in Beijing were learning Chinese, their accent was influenced by their first language. And the result showed today is that Beijinghua is filled with a massive amount of neutral tone words. MoreoverBeijinghua is full of its very own colloquial and slangs which don’t exist anywhere else. That implies that those colloquial and slang probably won’t be understood by people who did not grow up in the Beijing area. To put it differently, Beijinghua is a version of the Chinese language integrated with some aspects of the Manchu language.

In the 20th century, due to the geopolitical changes, the Chinese government started promoting Standard Mandarin (Putonghua), which is based on Beijinghua, but did not adopt Beijinghua completely. Consequently, if students have been learning standard Mandarin, Putonghua, they will find it challenging to understand Beijinghua.

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