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A Nonny Moose

400 Million Chinese have no Mandarin Language Skills.

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That doesn't surprise me. While Mandarin is the national language, Cantonese is also popular as a primary language, and there are other dialects in use.

 


There are three widely spoken languages: Arabic, Mandarin, and English, I believe.

 

Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi, Arabic, and Portuguese are the top six in terms of number of native speakers (Hindi and Arabic may trade places depending on what source you choose - a census of the whole world isn't exactly feasible).

 

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  • A great failure of the Great Leap Forward.  Mao's plan was for everyone to speak the national language.  One of the things to remember is that even in a little peninsula like Italy il straniero (quai lo) can be a guy from the next village.  One thing Mussolini managed to do during his tenure was to reform the Italian alphabet, spelling and pretty much get everyone to speak/write the national language (Florentine).

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    Indeed. Didn't know Italian wasn't a unified language before then. I had always assumed it had evolved from Latin somehow but remained fairly consistent.

     

    Well the thing with language is that a unifying language is very useful and logical, but cultures and regions tend to prefer to preserve their indentities. I imagine that ideally they would learn both, but the human brain is no computer, and that requires a lot of teaching I would think. I could never learn a second language, but then again I can't compose polyphonic works... I am very weak.

     

    I imagine in the future people will communicate via electrical means and all languages will be interpreted into some binary form and then converted into another language so as anyone could speak to anyone.

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  • Well, I have a year of university level Italian and four years of Latin.  I think Roumanian is closer to Latin than Italian which is full of Greek, especially in the south.  Take a look at some of the original Pirandello, and you'll see a lot of Calabrese and Siciliano dialect there.

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