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Dialect Profiles

Putonghua, the standard language of China, was developed to provide a common means of communication in a linguistically diverse country. Even within Mandarin, there are distinct regional variations that can render one person's speech extremely difficult for outsiders to understand. In addition to Mandarin dialects there are six other major dialect groups in China. Dialects differ in terms of vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar. They also differ in terms of speakers. Generally, a dialect is spoken throughout a specific region by people who share some history and culture. Below you will find profiles of various Chinese Dialects that include information about speaker populations, geography, culture and linguistic characteristics.