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The Chinese language is the most widespread language on the planet. Nowadays it is spoken by more than 1.3 billion people. Chinese is spoken not only in China, but also in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries, where the Chinese people live. The Chinese language has official status in China and Singapore.
It ’s not for nothing, that translation from and into Chinese is considered to be one of the most difficult, but as well one of the most needed.
The roots of the Chinese language and Chinese writing system go deep into the high antiquity. The Chinese language has a lot of dialects, and one of them, Beijing dialect, is used by the government as the official Chinese language. Slightly simplified variant of this language is also usually learned by the foreigners and they (especially English-speaking people) call it Mandarin.
As a matter of fact, the dialects of the Chinese language differ from each other much more, than, for instance, the dialects of Russian, and the inhabitants of different provinces of China hardly understand each other . That’s why some linguists also say, that what is considered to be dialects of Chinese language should rather be named though close, but different languages.
This is a disputable statement, and as a great influence on differentiation of languages and dialects is exerted by not actually linguistic factors (vocabulary, grammar), but cultural and political factors (the unity of history, the unity of people, the country’s integrity), then we should leave right to the Chinese to believe, that they speak one language.
When translating from Chinese, the dialectical differences may be of great difficulty, but we should pay attention to the fact, that writing system of different dialects don’t differ so much as oral speech. The interpretation from Chinese language may be of great difficulty even for professionals: apart from complicated system of tones in Chinese language, which are important to catch for understanding the sense, it is also important to know the peculiarities of etiquette and business communication of the Chinese, which are in marked contrast to the European ones.
The Chinese language uses hieroglyphic writing system. The Chinese, as opposed to European people and the majority of others, write not horizontally, but vertically. They write their hieroglyphs downward, and from column to column they move right to left. Each person, who saw Chinese hieroglyphs, has probably asked a logical question: why do Chinese hieroglyphs differ so much from all other alphabets and how did it happen, that the majority of languages use a few dozens of signs, when the Chinese language needs several thousands?
The answer to this question will be clear, if we address to the history of appearance of the Chinese hieroglyphic writing system using pictograms and ideograms. While the majority of languages tried to record the phonetic aspect of the word, its sound, the Chinese language turned to the sense, i.e. to the thing, which this word stands for. Thus, modern hieroglyphs, mostly stand for the fractions of sense, though some elements of phonetic meaning are also used.
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