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Matinee Blog

Five fascinating facts about the Chinese language

With a population of around 1.35 billion and an economy that has grown an average of 10% every year for the last 30 years, it’s no wonder that the demand for Chinese business translation services is on the rise.

To celebrate the fact that this intricate and ancient language is becoming more popular, here are five fascinating facts about the Chinese language and its unique development.

1. It’s the oldest written language in the world

With a history stretching back around 6000 years, Chinese is the oldest written language in the world.

While spoken Chinese has developed considerably over the years, the written language has remained largely the same since it was standardised in the third century BC.

2. Chinese has no cases, genders, tenses or plurals

Though Chinese is by no means an easy language to learn, it does actually have relatively simple grammar with no cases, genders, tenses or plurals.

3. How you say a word can change its meaning

Though grammatically simple, the tones in Chinese can make a learner’s life difficult with different tones completely transforming the meaning of a word or phrase.

This makes it especially important to get audio translations right and requires an exceptionally high level of skill on the part of the speaker.  This is why businesses often use a professionally trained Chinese voice-over artist to communicate their message clearly.

4. There are over 80,000 Chinese characters

Although only around 2,000 – 4,000 characters are in regular everyday use, the Chinese language actually has over 80,000 characters.

However, there is also a simplified version of the language that is easier for westerners to learn, so don’t be put off if you were thinking of studying some Mandarin.

5. It has the most native speakers in the world

With around 955 million native speakers, Mandarin Chinese has by far the most native speakers in the world.

In fact, it has more than double the number of native speakers as Spanish which comes in at number two in the rankings with 405 million.

With such a rich and unique history, the Chinese language is one of the most fascinating on earth. As the country grows and develops, it’s set to become even more important, more widely spoken and more in demand.

If you require a Chinese translation service, please visit the relevant page on our website by clicking either of these links: Chinese voice-over, Chinese subtitling.