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Re: More than 400 million Chinese are unable to speak the national language
There are various languages in China, such as Hakka, Uighur, Tibetan etc, most of which belong to the Sino-Tibetan language family. (Note: These are separate languages, not merely dialects of Mandarin.) It's not surprising at all to me that many citizens of the PRC don't speak Mandarin - historically, China hasn't been a nation-state, but rather a multi-ethnic empire comprised of sometimes rather isolated provinces, while the Communist party gave varying (in some cases rather extensive) degrees of cultural autonomy to non-Han Chinese ethnic groups. Combine this with the fact that a good chunk of the rural areas in China tend to be rather under-developed in infrastructure and means of communication, and there you have it.
This is, however, not in itself problematic - after all, China has multiple official languages, and it could be argued that China should embrace its multi-ethnic character rather than marginalizing the minority cultures in favor of establishing the linguistic dominance of Mandarin.
Last edited by CupofCoffee; 09-06-2013 at 08:33 PM.