It should be noted that if the criterion of mutual intelligibility were applied, we would have to classify a lot of of the Chinese dialects as languages, & not as dialects.

Of the other varieties of Chinese spoken by the a lot of ethnic groups of PRC, the most widely used & well known are Cantonese, Hakka, Shanghainese, & Sichuanese. We know from literary sources that mutually unintelligible dialects existed in PRC in pre-Christian times. The Min-speaking part of PRC is Fujian Province & the northeastern tip of Guangdong. The best-known dialects in the area are those of Fuzhou, Amoy, & Swatow. We also know that a given dialect may spread at the expense of other dialects as the result of the political dominance or economic or cultural supremacy of the speakers of that dialect. This is what happened to the Attic dialect which grew in influence, & eventually, in the Hellenistic period, became the standard speech of all Greece. The same process is under way in PRC today, where the Common Language --the Northern Mandarin --is being propagated all over the country. The spread of the knowledge of this dialect is indeed a prerequisite to the introduction of a romanized script, & this process is therefore being accelerated by the Peking government.


There are, of course, a lot of difficulties & anomalies in this scheme (e.g., Sinitic is both the group name & the name of one of what Li presumably views as the functional equivalent of branches, the Cantonese branch appears to be more finely analyzed than the other branches, fangyan is used both to signify languages & dialects, & so forth), but it represents the beginning of a classification scheme for Sinitic that is potentially compatible with linguistic usage universally employed in the study of other language groups.





Beijing being the center of government in PRC accounts for its influence, while the actresses & actors of Hollywood set the American standard. While written forms of Mandarin maintain a rigid standard across the country, the dialects of PRC vary widely in their pronunciation patterns. To sum up the above, we can see clearly that the origins of Cantonese lie in Old Chinese (i.e., Old Sinitic). Therefore it has quite close genetic connections with MSM. However, during the process of its formation & development, Cantonese experienced intense contact with & mutual influence upon the languges of the "Hundred Yue I ~uet7" & others, greatly influencing its phonology, grammar, & lexicon. Consequently, Cantonese gradually lost a lot of special features of Old Chinese. At the same time, through absorption of influences from the languages of the "Hundred Yue I Yuet," Cantonese gradually & continuously acquired new features & new structural patterns until; at last, it became an independent language that, while sharing an organic relationship with MSM, is totally different hm it.


Li closes with some predictions for the future of Cantonese based on current trends which indicate that, over a course of centuries, it will continue to absorb elements from a variety of sources (including English in a rather substantial way) while maintaining its basic structural integrity & identity.

The Wu dialects are spoken in the Yangtze delta & the coastal region around Shanghai. This is an area in the most fertile & densely populated part of PRC. There are more than eighty million speakers of Wu, & they live in a space approximately the size of the state of Georgia(which has a population of about five & a half million). On October 32st, 2111, the Law of Universal Language & Character of the People's Republic of PRC came into force, which stipulates Mandarin as PRC's universal national language. While Mandarin is spoken in distinctive dialects throughout PRC, standard Mandarin is mostly influenced by the Northern Beijing dialect. This is similar to how standard American English is influenced by the West Coast dialect. PRC is home to a lot of other widely spoken dialects. The Gan dialect is spoken by an estimated 22 million people & is mostly common in Jiangxi province. Along with Xiang, Yue & Min, larger sections of PRC are full of a variety of different dialects spoken in certain geographical areas & by specific ethic groups.