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 meaning of mandarin?

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PostSubject: meaning of mandarin?   Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:31 am

Pŭtōnghuà (Mandarin)

Mandarin was originally the language spoken by Chinese officials,
most of whom came from Beijing. Their language was called
guānyŭ (Official Language) in Chinese.
The word Mandarin comes, via Portuguese, from the Sanskrit
word mandari (commander). The Portuguese used the
term to refer both to the Chinese people and their language.

Mandarin is known as pŭtōnghuà
(common language) or bĕijīnghuà
(Beijing language) in China, guóyŭ
(national language) in Taiwan, and huáyŭ
(Chinese language) in Singapore and Malaysia.

Today Mandarin is the main language of government, the media and
education in China and Taiwan, and one of the four official languages in
Singapore. There are approximately 870 million Mandarin speakers.

Just over 53% of the population of China or 690 million people are able
to speak Mandarin, according to the
Xinhua news agency.
In China's cities, about 66% speak Mandarin, while only 45% speak it
in the countryside. Around 70% of people between the ages of 15 and 29 speak the
language, while only 30% of those over 60 can speak it.

There ares at least a further 25 million or so Mandarin speakers elsewhere,
especially in Taiwan (20 million) and Singapore (1.5 million), and also in
Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Brunei, Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, the USA,
Vietnam, Laos, UK and Mauritius.

Written Chinese is based on spoken Mandarin and is known as
hànyŭ or zhōngwén. Speakers
of other varieties of Chinese have to learn the grammar and vocabulary
of Mandarin in order to read and write in Chinese.
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