Do we speak Chinese or Mandarin? Do we read Mandarin and write Chinese or write Mandarin and read Chinese? Is Mandarin a language? Is the script we read and write one and the same? And what if someone speaks Cantonese? Can they understand you when you speak Mandarin? It can all get a bit complicated when we think about it, so let’s see if we can unpick a few facts…
Is Chinese a language?
There is no one language called ‘Chinese’. Chinese is an umbrella term for more than 200 diverse Chinese dialects.
Is Mandarin a language?
Mandarin is one of the numerous Chinese dialects. Many linguists however consider Mandarin, along with other widely spoken Chinese dialects, to be languages in their own right because they are mutually unintelligible.