Home > China Facts > China Overview > Chinese Language

Chinese Language

Last updated by fabiowzgogo at 2015/11/29

Though not the oldest language, either spoken or written (Sumerian commands both of those honors), the Chinese character, which originated as a form of hieroglyph in BCE ca.1000 – specifically, the Shang (BCE 1700-1027) Dynasty Oracle-Bone inscriptions that were made on the large, flattish shoulder blades of animals and on the shells of tortoises – is among the world's oldest written languages.

In this article, the Chinese language (its written form, or script, as well as its spoken form) will be presented in greater details. Topics to be covered include: the written language's historical origins; the script's subsequent evolution; the presence of sound-alikes, or homophones; Latinization and other forms of transliteraton, including indigenous transliteration systems; spoken Chinese; the influence of the Chinese script on other Oriental languages; and finally, a section devoted to online Chinese language learning resources that is at the same time an encouragement to the reader to begin to learn the language that is spoken by the greatest number of native speakers on planet earth.