History and Development of Chinese Language


The Chinese language has the honour of being called the oldest written language of the world that has a history of 6,000 years. The inscriptions of Chinese characters have been discovered in many turtle shells belonging to Shang Dynasty around 1766 BC – 1123 BC, which proves that written language has an existence of over 3,000 years. The Chinese language makes use of single unique characters or symbols to represent one word of their vocabulary. Most of the characters are just the written descriptions of spoken sound with meanings. You can easily find 40,000 characters in a large Chinese dictionary and you need to learn at least 2,000 characters to be able to read a Chinese newspaper.

Even thought the written Chinese language has been modified because of political changes and revolutions, the basic principles of the language and their characters and symbols remain the same. There are several dialects of Chinese language, but the written language is more or less same. You might find it strange that the Chinese people from different provinces find it difficult to communicate verbally, but they can understand the written language. The written language has three forms: traditional, simplified and phonetic or informal slang. ‘pin-yin’ form of Chinese language is transliterated using roman spellings.

Like all other languages, has seen several changes in history; it has undergone various incarnations. A language family known as Sino- Tibetan is the mother of Chinese, but their relationship is a matter of controversy and active research. The basic difficulty in restructuring Proto-Sino-Tibetan is that even after having strong documentation for reformation of ancient Chinese sounds, there are no documents to prove the point of division of Chinese from other Sino- Tibetan languages.

Development of Chinese language is a matter of erudite debate. One among the initial systems was worked out by Bernhard Karlgrenin, a Swedish linguist, in the early years of the 1900s. Even though the system was revised, it was always dependent on the methods and insights of Karlgrenin. Old Chinese is also known as Archaic Chinese, which as common during the reign of Zhou Dynasty from 1122 BC to 256 BC. The texts of Zhou dynasty comprise of writings on artefacts of bronze, history of Shujing, the poetry of Shijing, and parts of I Ching or Yijing.

The growth of spoken Chinese language has been a complex process. The people in Sichuan, Manchuria, and Yunnan make use of different dialects of Mandarin as their native language. Mandarin has prevailed in the northern China because of the plains of north China. In contrast, rivers and mountains of china encouraged diversity in linguistics.

During the mid of 20th century, the southern Chinese people spoke only the home variant of Chinese.

The circumstances for Chinese changed when the elementary system of school education committed to tutoring Mandarin or Modern Standard Chinese. It resulted in mandarin becoming the business Chinese of mainland China. Chinese has spread all over the Asia as a prominent language, particularly in Singapore. If you want to learn Chinese in Singapore, you can open several prospects of education and career for yourself.

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