Mandarin is known as “Putonghua” in Mainland China and is the common language of all modern Han people. In Taiwan and Hong Kong, it is called “Guoyu,” and in Singapore and Malaysia, it is called “Huayu.”
Mandarin is shaped and based on the Beijing dialect and other dialects spoken in northern China. Mandarin has written vernacular Chinese in its grammar, Mandarin dialects in its vocabulary, and the Beijing dialect in its pronunciation.
The Standard Chinese in Mainland China is regulated by the National Language Regulating Committee, which has a law titled “National Common Language and Writing Law.” This law’s provisions require the mandatory promotion of Standard Chinese by the Chinese government. About 70% of the population in Mainland China can speak Standard Chinese, but only 10% can speak it fluently.
Chinese is one of six official languages of the United Nations (UN). Mandarin is used as a native language by about one-fifth of the world’s total population. This means over 1 billion people speak Chinese (Mandarin). It has also had a major role in shaping languages and characters of some other Asian countries, such as Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Countries that Speak Chinese
Mandarin is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan. It is also an official language in Singapore. Additionally, Mandarin is spoken in Hong Kong (China S.A.R.) and Macau (China S.A.R.), as well as in Malaysia and Tibet.
Because of significantly large Chinese populations living around the world, Mandarin is spoken in countries in the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa as well. For example, the U.S. has a Chinese population of about 6 million, with high concentrations in Chinatowns in New York City and San Francisco.
Countries with large Chinese communities and Mandarin speakers are:
Mandarin may not be the most common dialect of Chinese in every international community. In New York City’s Chinatown, for example, Cantonese is the most popular Chinese dialect.