The Chinese language 汉语 , is the language spoken by the Han Chinese minority. It is part of the Sino-Tibetan group. This is an analytical language which means, in morphological typology, a language in which words are or tend to be invariable. Chinese is a tone language : each syllable is stressed. So in chinese the syllable but can mean mother, Horse, Hemp, Insult or be a particle following the intonation.
The basic unit of Chinese writing is the character called sinogram. Each Chinese character represents a syllable. A word is generally composed of one or two syllables.
In general, Chinese is the language based on the dialect of northern China, with the Beijing pronunciation and grammar of language spoken literary (白话 ). It should be noted that there are some differences in pronunciation between Chinese from mainland China, the island of Taiwan and the Chinese in Singapore.
For the oral, differences between different Chinese dialects are quite large, much like the Romance languages (French, Italy, Romanian, Spanish, etc.) For this reason, many linguists consider the various Western dialects of Chinese as a language family. But from the perspective of Chinese writing, of its users (Han Chinese), policy and the culture unicity, most chinese experts consider the Chinese language as a single language. In mainland China and the island of Taiwan, Standard Chinese (mandarin) is the common language. For Hong Kong et Macao, this is Cantonese 粤语 . The Chinese Diaspora use Cantonese as a common language, but they also use Mandarin Chinese, the Hakka and the Minnan dialect and other local language for communication.
The Chinese is an ideographic writing system. Chinese writing is now well codified and unified, as well as the grammar. A graphic element in a sinogram may give an indication of the pronunciation of the character, but this indication is not accurate. Many characters have no phonetic element. During the long Chinese history, the pronunciation of sinograms has undergone major changes. That's why we now have such great differences between Chinese spoken dialects. But when the Chinese writing have been standardized, the problem of written communication was reduced.
Before the movement of literature written in spoken language 白话 , the literary language was Chinese Classic Language 文言 . This written language is based on literary works before the unification of China by the First Emperor in -221. Classic Language is now practically unused and often reduced to idioms, proverbs, etc..