Why do people keep thinking that Chinese is a language?

Chinese is the people, not the language.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Most likely because people base a lot of languages based off of country names, i. e (Spain-Spanish... France-French... Portugal-Portuguese etc..)

    I already knew it's mainly Mandarin and Cantonese based on location.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • Exactly. I don't know why either. China has so many spoken languages (or dialects if its that), but maybe cause people just base a language based on the country's name. Like I always wonder, why do people say that Spanish is Spanish, is it because it originates from Spain? And why is French called French, only because its from France?

    Lol no idea either.

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What Guys Said 25

  • well... because it is xD people refer to every languages that are spoken in china as "chinese" because it´s too much to mention all the languages that are spoken there. of course people will likely mean mandarin but it´s just a simplification. people know there is no language called "chinese".

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  • Actually, Standard Chinese is a form of Mandarin Chinese, and is known as "Chinese", so Chinese is a language spoken in China. Also spoken are Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Zhuang. According to Ethnologue, China has 292 living languages.

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  • Because a lot of people aren't educated about the east?

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  • First, knowledgeable people know that Mandarin is the principle language of China. Secondly, they are saying it in the same way people say we speak American, even though we actuaspeak English. Thirdly, each language gives somewhat arbitrary names to languages and countries.

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  • For the same reason that people think Africa is a country, because they don't educate themselves and stupidity go by what is supposedly common knowledge.

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  • CHINESE language as in "The language that is typically spoken by people in CHINA"

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  • aren't there two different languages used in China? If i remember correctly, one of them is Mandarin Chinese right?

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  • Because it is?

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  • Because no one's heard of Mandarin.

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  • I believe that many people do know that Chinese is not a language but because there are different dialects of it like Mandarin they refer to all of them as Chinese much like how the Spanish language has five different ways to speak based on where you live for example in Barcelona they speak Catalonian but in the north of Spain they speak Basque. It is just a way to generalize the entire language and not worry about the different dialects.

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  • Because we literally teach ignorance in our schools.

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    • Mandarin and Cantonese are Chinese languages. It's legitimate to refer to either of them as Chinese.

    • I JUST answered the question: "What language would you like to learn if you had the time?"

      I wanted to say, "CHINESE!" Because I thought the asker was you.

      No really, though, I do want to learn Mandarin because I study and practice kung fu, and I want a better grasp on the language surrounding the arts.

  • Mandarin and Cantonese are dialects of their language, the similarities are rather similar. Kind of like British English and Australian English. Each has it's own spin on things

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  • Well its a good word to refer to all dialects there. There are a lot.

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  • because they are silly

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  • Because they have never heard of Mandarin or Cantonese.

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    • But I think the reason why people think this is that these languages are only spoken in China.

  • i thought it was a language and there were multiple dialects like kanji and katakana

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  • People also forget that Indian , Pakistanis are Asians too

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  • they speak mandarin (among others), now gimme da cookie.

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  • so what language do Chinese speak ? gibberish?

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  • For the same reason that people think our language is mexican, not Spanish. ¬¬

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  • I like Chinese people.

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  • At least in the USA, most people don't know that there are major differences between Mandarin and Cantonese. It's all Chinese to us. :-(

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  • Because who really cares? If you get mad over that you're over sensitive

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  • Yes and the people speak chinese.

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  • And what language are these Chinese people speaking while residing in China?

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    • And yes Mandarin and Cantonese are spoken but that is two forms of Chinese language.

What Girls Said 15

  • It's a lot easier to just say Chinese, even though that's not a language, than specifying Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese, etc.. A lot of the time, people might know if someone is from China, but that doesn't really tell them which dialect they speak. To make things easier, Chinese has become a broad umbrella term for whichever Chinese dialect the individual may speak.

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  • Same goes with most other countries. In England the language is English and the people are English. It's how it's referred to

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  • I think people are just uneducated. In China, Mandarin is spoken by just about all people, even if they do speak Cantonese or another dialect. People just lump in Mandarin into "Chinese" language because it is the official language of China.

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  • Well since the most spoken language in China is officially called "Mandarin Chinese" it's not exactly wrong to call it just "Chinese", at least not to me.

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  • Well most people don't know the language is mandarin or cantonese so they refer to it as Chinese.

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  • open a book

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  • Yeah like calling native americans Indians.

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  • They associate the name of the country to the language.

    Ex. China = Chinese, Canada= Canadian. They also have no clue Cantonese, Hakka, and Mandarin language exists in China.

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  • There's a lot of Chinese languages. I think mandarin is the most common.

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  • And Mandarin and Cantonese or the languages of China.

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  • You still can use the noun "Chinese" if you're referring to the language.

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  • Yes Mandarin and Cantonese are the dialects but people usually say chinese to make things easier.

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  • Because we don't care much about the Chinese and their language.

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  • Its food also :P

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  • Because its convenient.

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