8 Most Popular Chinese Dialects

8 Most Popular Chinese Dialects

8 Most Popular Chinese Dialects

With increasing Chinese influence and prosperity, people are looking forward to learning their language. However, they may get confused when they go deep in their study and come across things they do not understand (though they should). It is probably them coming across various dialects of the language. In this article, we shall discuss the most popular dialects of their language, so you can excel in your language learning proficiency.

Most Popular Chinese Dialects Ranked:

Different dialects of this language are spoken in different regions of China. We shall now go through all those dialects, with some additional data that you may find helpful. Read the following:

Mandarin Dialect

It is the main dialect of the Chinese people. Moreover, it is regarded as the standard Chinese dialect worldwide, with about 850 million speakers internationally.

  • In China, this dialect covers most of the region, including the capital Beijing.
  • If you know this dialect, you can converse with the entirety of Chinese people, with a few exceptions (you’ll understand when you learn the Cantonese language).

You should join a Mandarin class to find a Mandarin tutor if you want to learn this. It would be quite easier to start learning this dialect, as it is not uncommon, however, learning the language itself may be hard.

Wu Dialect

Wu is the second most popular Chinese dialect spoken by almost 77 million people. It is spoken mostly in the South-Eastern Border of China, in many popular cities like Shanghai.

  • Although the spread of this language is quite less, it is spoken by many due to the number of people in that region.
  • This particular dialect is also pretty close to Mandarin. So, if you have studied in a Mandarin class, you will be able to understand the Wu dialect too.

Moreover, some aspects of this dialect make it hard to learn as compared to other dialects. So, if you master it, you can master any other dialect.

Yue Dialect

Yue Dialect, which is better known as the Cantonese language, is another popular dialect of Chinese and is spoken by about 71 million people. This dialect has a separate name because, by nature, it is fundamentally quite different from Mandarin, making it an entirely different language. It is spoken in the Southern region of the Chinese border, where other important regions like Hong Kong thrive.

If you want 100% verbal access to the Chinese people, you will have to learn Cantonese along with learning Mandarin. That’s because they are like 2 different aspects of the same region. Moreover, the Cantonese language is also learned and spoken at the international level, though not nearly as popular as Mandarin. You can learn Cantonese from your local college or universities easily.

Min Dialect

Min is also a famous Chinese dialect spoken in the South-Eastern border. What makes it interesting, however, as this is the only dialect that is also native to certain regions outside China, a privilege no other dialect has. It has a total of about 60 million speakers, which include Taiwanese.

This dialect also holds similarities with both Mandarin and Cantonese. You can say no particular dialect in the region is completely pure.

Jin Dialect

Jin dialect is also very famous in the Chinese region, with about 45 million speakers. This dialect is probably the closest to Mandarin among all dialects, so much so that it is usually grouped along with Mandarin.

  • It is spoken in the Northern region of China but is closer to the center, i.e., it is not spoken near the borders.
  • In essence, if you have a Mandarin tutor, they can probably speak this dialect too, because of the extremely close links they both have.

You will also find many speakers of the Jin dialect in China’s capital Beijing because this dialect became native to a region close to Beijing. Many migrated to Beijing as that city grew in commercial value.

Xiang Dialect

Xiang is a very important region located in the Southern part of China. Considering that the regions surrounding Xiang are mainly Mandarin-speaking regions, it is heavily influenced by the Mandarin dialect (or influenced by it, who knows?). It may have adopted a little spark of the Hakka too. It has a total of about 36 million speakers.

The SouthEast region of China is quite diverse, in the sense that the Mandarin dialect is not spoken there mainly, but instead, various dialects are spoken that are quite common. Xiang is one of them.

Hakka Dialect

Hakka has about 34 million speakers (most of them being in isolated regions). It is also present in the group of dialects that cover the South-Eastern region of China. Amongst all the dialects that resemble the Mandarin dialect, it is probably the farthest of them.

We can say that this dialect evolved a little differently, and is beautiful in its own right. Putting the dialect aside, the region where it is spoken is a must-visit in China.

Gan Dialect

Gan can be considered unlike most dialects in the region. It evolved independently of other dialects and spread to the greatest area or region along with Mandarin.

  • However, since those regions are largely remote, it has only about 31 million speakers.
  • You will find its speakers mainly in the South- and North-Western region of China, though they also cover a large spread in the North.

It can be regarded as an entirely different language if you want. That is because it contains many words that were used in the ancient era and are no longer recognized by Mandarin and most other dialects. Though, this is exactly what makes this language beautiful.

Final Thoughts

It becomes clear from our discussion above that if we learn Cantonese language and successfully finish our Mandarin class, we can probably understand the whole Chinese region. We also know that the world is changing fast, and sooner or later, Chinese culture’s influence would be expected throughout the world. In such a case, those who are ahead of the curve will be successful.