The history of the Mandarin language is long and extensive, which can make it a bit tricky to trace. Mandarin is spoken by almost 1.3 billion people in the world, which makes it the language with the highest number of native speakers. The Chinese language is spoken mainly in the form of standard Mandarin, which is the official language spoken in the mainland of Taiwan and China. It is also one of the official languages of the United Nations.

The history of Mandarin

There are hundreds of Mandarin dialects all over the world, which can make it very difficult to trace the origins of the language. Until the 20th century, people would speak different variations and dialects of Mandarin and the official Chinese Mandarin language was not spoken until 1912, which is the year that China became a republic.

Historical Mandarin, which is what came before China became a republic, was being used as far back as the 19th century. The basic structure, as well as some of the grammatical rules of both modern and historical Mandarin,  is the same.

However, some of the more archaic and historical rules that are commonly found in historical Mandarin have since been replaced by modern grammatical components. Today, most official documents are found in standard Mandarin, which is the universally accepted version. The version is also what is taught in schools and universities.

The dialects

In some instances, Mandarin Chinese is sometimes commonly referred to as a dialect, which can be very confusing for the inexperienced Mandarin speaker. There are many different versions of the Chinese language that are spoken in different parts of China, and these versions are usually categorized as dialects.

One example of such a dialect is Cantonese, which is spoken all over Hong Kong. Although the phrases and terms between Mandarin and Cantonese are different, both share the written form. As such, both Mandarin and Cantonese speakers can communicate without a lot of issues through writing even though the two languages, when spoken, are quite incomprehensible.

Written Chinese

Mandarin uses easily recognizable Chinese characters for its written text. The text is quite beautiful and has a history that dates back more than two thousand years. Early Chinese written language consisted of pictograms which were graphic representations of the original object. However, as the characters became more stylized, the written form became more of an art form to be appreciated by everybody. The written system is incredibly complex and is one of the trickiest parts of learning Mandarin.