Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world with 1.2 billion speakers; and this figure does not cease to increase. Each year about 40 million people study the language.
The Chinese government designated Mandarin as the lingua franca of the entire nation (where the term 普通話 pǔtōnghuà, 'common language' comes from). It was originally the language of the Chinese communities from the Yellow River basin in the north of the country (Huang He). It does not derive from the classical literary language (文言 wényán) which was abandoned in 1919, but from a vernacular spoken language (白話 báihuà 'basic language'). The other types of speech in China (wu, gan, xiang, hakka, yué and min), officially called dialects but considered by linguists to be languages, form a block of 300 million speakers compared with about 800 million people speaking Mandarin. The superiority of Mandarin is that it is the only widely written, published and taught language throughout China.
Today more than ever the giant which is China is unveiling itself and opening up to the rest of the world; a multitude of markets that are still unexplored make Mandarin a language of major importance for the world of tomorrow.
Official languages of the UN: Arabic, English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian.
Classification by family:
Sino-Tibetan languages>Chinese languages>Mandarin