The Story of Mandarin, China's National Language

Richard V. Simmons (Asian Languages and Cultures)

Mandarin is the Standard Language of China. But, what is Mandarin and where did it come from? Many assume that Mandarin is the language of Beijing and that Beijing has served as the standard language for a long time. In fact Beijing is not the origin of the today's standard written language and the city's dialect was not the most common spoken language in imperial China, even when Beijing was the capital. In this seminar we will explore the history of Mandarin––where it came from, how it is changing, and how it is related to all the various other forms of written and spoken Chinese, including Classical Chinese and the Chinese dialects. No knowledge of Mandarin is needed to take this seminar, only the desire to know more about this fascinating language.