Expert: China's 130 national languages still thriving

16:46, July 11, 2011      

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China's 130 national languages have still been inherited and continue to develop among 1.3 billion people despite the impact of globalization and regional economic development, said a linguist from an authoritative dialect research agency on July 10, 2011.

According to statistics, there are more than 6,000 languages in the world, of which more than 2,500 languages are in an extremely critical state, while in China, 130 languages, including Mandarin Chinese, are used by 1.3 billion people. In terms of global influence, Mandarin Chinese ranks sixth in the world.

Most people in China use Mandarin and fewer people use the other 129 languages, said Xiong Zhenghui, president of Chinese Dialect Society.

To help preserve the viability and vitality of these languages, the Chinese government has moved to finance academia's efforts to compile books about their linguistics and to collect traditional masterpieces that disappeared from sight shortly after China started economic reforms in the late 1970s.

The authorities have also managed to help ethnic groups to retrieve and better understand their native tongues, especially the ones indigenous people could only speak but not write and those made up of only symbols.

Currently, China's local governments have taken all kinds of measures to retrieve minority languages and to ensure China's 130 national languages can be inherited and developed.

By Ye Xin, People's Daily Online
  Weekly review  


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