普通话和方言 Mandarin and Dialects
Mandarin has Beijing pronunciation as its standard pronunciation, northern dialect as its basic dialect, and the typical modern vernacular Chinesea as its grammatical standard. Mandarin offers convenience for communication between people at different areas or of different ethnic groups in China.
China has a vast territory and a large population. Even though people all use the Chinese language, they speak in different ways in different areas, which are called dialects. Generally called local languages, dialects are branches of the Chinese language in different regions, and are only used in certain areas. At present, the Chinese language has seven dialects: northern dialectb, Wu dialectc, Xiang dialectd, Gan dialecte, Hakkaf, Min dialectg and Yue or Guangdong dialecth. Among them, northern dialect is one used most widely. Hakka, Fujian dialect and Guangdong dialect are also used by overseas Chinese.
Dialects of the Chinese language are very complicated. Various dialects differ from each other on three aspects: pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar. And the difference in pronunciation is the most outstanding. There is a saying in coastal areas of southeastern China -"Pronunciations differ within 10-li (Chinese unit of measurement, 1 li=0.5 km) area".If all people in different areas speak in local dialects, it will lead to the trouble in communications.
More than 2,000 years ago, Chinese people had realized that a common language should be used in social intercourse. Compared with dialects "differing within 10-li area", Mandarin can be understood by all people. Since it is beneficial to cultural exchange and information transmission between ethnic groups and people in different places, the Chinese government attaches great importance to popularizing Mandarin and encourages people to learn Mandarin.