Chinese, or the Chinese languages (汉语 / 漢語; Chan-yü or 中文; Chung-wen), is a group of related, but in many cases mutually unintelligible, languages that belong to the Sino-Tibetan language family. Although often referred to by their speakers as mere dialects, these languages are in fact very diverse, and Chinese forms one of the two branches of the Sino-Tibetan languages (the other being the Tibeto-Burman languages). All Chinese languages are tonal and analytic. Depending on the classification system, 7–13 major groups are recognized within Chinese. By far the most numerous group are the North Chinese dialects, which have 960 million native speakers; followed by Wu with 80 million speakers. Cantonese, which is used in Hong Kong, is important.
Chinese is the most numerous native language in the world. Chinese is spoken as a mother tongue by around 1.2 billion people, which is 16% of the world's population. Chinese is spoken mainly by the Han, but also by other ethnic groups in China and Taiwan. It is also an important language in Singapore, Malaysia and Chinese communities in other countries.
The standardized and literary form of Chinese is Standard Chinese, or Mandarin/Mandarin Chinese (known as 普通话 in mainland China; phu-chung-chua, in Taiwan as 國語; kuo-jü), which is based on the Beijing dialect, which belongs to the wider groups of northern Chinese dialects. It is written using Chinese characters, which are logograms, so that even speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese languages have no problem understanding them. Standard Chinese is an official language in the PRC, Taiwan, and is one of the four official languages of Singapore. It is also one of the six working languages of the United Nations.
In the Czech language environment, the term "Chinese" most often refers to contemporary standard Chinese (TZ: 经代標溶漢語 ZZ: 现代标签汉语 pinyin: Xiàndài biāozhǔn Hànyǔ, Czech transliteration: Sien-taj piao-chun Chan-yü), which is lexically- grammatically based on model works written in the Pai-chua language, phonetically based on the Peking dialect and based on the Northern dialect group (sometimes called Mandarin). According to some researchers, Chinese is not a unified language, but consists of several smaller languages. The number 7 is often given according to the seven large groups of dialects (see below). Given that these dialects share many essential characteristics, this view is questionable despite its prevalence, especially if we add the fact that languages are also defined by extra-linguistic factors, such as cultural and political ones.
The official form (norm) of this language in the People's Republic of China is called pǔtōnghuà, a generally understandable language (TZ: 普通話 ZZ: 普通话, Czech transliteration: pchu-tchung-chua), in the Republic of China on Taiwan guóyǔ, the national language (TZ:國語 ZZ: 国语, Czech transliteration: kuo-jü) and in Singapore huáyǔ, i.e. "Chinese language" (TZ: 華語 ZZ: 华语, Czech transliteration: chua-jü).
In addition to the above-mentioned Modern Standard Chinese, native speakers use a number of more or less related dialects, which can be divided into several groups according to various criteria, however, it is true that Modern Standard Chinese currently functions as a means of communication between speakers of different dialect groups, regardless of , that the pronunciation of individual syllables is to a certain extent influenced by the native dialect of the speaker, and pronunciation exactly according to the established standard can only be encountered to a limited extent, e.g. in the media or in schools with pedagogues specially trained to teach the Chinese language. Chinese equivalent for Chinese Hàn