The Storied History of the Chinese Language
The Oldest Language in The World
The Chinese language is the oldest language with a written form dated back to 3,000 years ago. The Chinese language over the years had a complicated devolvement. Even though there were several dialects, the written form of the Chinese language remained unchanged. Several Chinese people could gather from the different parts and find it extremely hard to communicate verbally. However, they will find it quite easy to communicate in black and white.
The Chinese language uses one character to symbolise a word in their vocabulary. These characters are a representation of the spoken words. Even though there are over 4,000 characters in the Chinese vocabulary, one only need about 2,000 characters to be able to follow-up write-ups in Chinese, especially their newspapers.
Like several other languages, the Chinese language has undergone several changes over time. This change is what makes up the history of the Chinese language. As a member of the Sino-Tibetan language, the relationship between Chinese language and some other languages that originated from Proto-Sino- Tibetan is entirely about research and controversy, as there were efforts towards the reconstruction of the Proto-Sino-Tibetan language.
Even though there were documentaries about the reconstruction of the old Chinese language, there is nothing written about where the Chinese had split from other Sino- Tibetan languages. This actually, is a common problem in the history of many languages because some things about the languages were not documented.
The Development of the Language
The debate about the development of the Chinese language is a scholarly debate. One of the earliest systems was developed by Bernard Karlgren, a Swedish linguist in the 1900s. The system was revised; however, the basis still stands on Karlgren’s insights and notions.
The “Archaic Chinese” language as it is popularly referred to was common in the early and mid Zhou dynasty of (1122-256 BC), several texts and poems that serves as a pointer to the Old Chinese language and how it is produced, apart from an insight into the culture, poetry and even the phonetic features that are provided as well.
Also, the Chinese characters or symbols borrowed by the Japanese and Vietnam provided an insight into the old language of Chinese and its pronunciation. Even though the Old Chinese language was rich in sound system and rough breathing of differentiated consonant, it was lacking intones. Wing dynasty kick-started the reconstruction work on the Archaic Chinese.
The middle Chinese language was used in the 6th through the 10th centuries. It is divided into the early period, the mid-period and the late period, which was of course, in the 10th century. The evidence of this middle Chinese language comes from the modern dialect, rime dictionaries, rime tables constructed by the archaic philologist to summarise the phonetics and Chinese phonetics translations of foreign words.
Modern Day Chinese Language
The development of the Chinese language is quite complex, and this brought about speakers of different chunks of the same language. The reconstructions brought about differences in production of the same character by people of the same tribe and that is what birth the modern day Chinese language, which is an evolvement of several changes over the years.
Singaporeans looking to learn Chinese in Singapore can be acquainted with the history of the language when they sign up for Mandarin classes in Singapore. Knowing the rich history of the language will enable you to understand and grasp it better as you learn too.