Chinese language facts
Some characteristics of Chinese language* Chinese is a tonal language The meaning of a word changes according to its tone. There are 4 tones in Mandarin Chinese: flat, rising, falling then rising and falling. Other dialects feature up to 9 different tones. * All words have only one grammatical form only There is no grammatical distinction between singular or plural, no declination of verbs according to tense, mood and aspect. The distinction between singular or plural is accomplished by sentence structure. Tenses are indicated by adverbs of time ('yesterday', 'later') or particles. Sounds great? Well, 2 different types of aspects which are unlike anything in any European language give information as to the relevancy of an occurrence and a complex system of suffixes to distinguish the direction, possibility, and success of an action help complicate this apparently easy grammar… * Questions are formed by usage of particles, the word order (mostly Subject, Verb, Object) remains unchanged * Formal/informal address Second person nín is used instead of general n§ to show deference. Various terms, too, help express deference and are used when speaking to an older or especially respected person.
Past coverage about: Chinese language Mandarin Chinese Tonal language Chinese dialects
- The Development of Chinese Language 01-10-2010
- Chinese dialects and relatives of Chinese languages 01-10-2010
- Chinese language overview 30-09-2010