The name Chinese give their own country is 中国 zhong1guo2, which literally means "Middle Kingdom." Chinese have long considered their homeland to be the center of the world. It is not surprising then that elements of language have emanated out from the center to surrounding peoples. Vocabulary and grammar from Chinese have become deeply embedded in the nearby languages Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese.
The written language of China was also adopted and adapted by nearby language groups. Everyone is familiar with Japanese writing that looks like Chinese characters with extra squiggly bits to the side, and many have puzzled over Korean restaurants that appear to have signs in Chinese.
Even areas that are far away from China are not free from the influence of Chinese. Overseas Chinese live all over the world, and their language use naturally affects the language around them. Even English and other European languages have been influenced by Chinese through trade and commerce.
That said, Chinese has not been completely isolated. In the same ways Chinese has influenced foreign languages, it has in turn been influenced. Japanese usages of Chinese characters have become Chinese words, English terms have found their place in Chinese syntax, and vocabulary from countless languages has become Chinese over the years.
If it's not all Chinese to you yet, then choose from the topics below to find more about the interaction between Chinese and other world languages: