Tuesday, September 27, 2011

English, Chinese and Hindi-Urdu Speakers


Native speakers First language: 309–400 million
Second language: 199 million–1.4 billion[2][3]
Overall: 500 million–1.8 billion[3][4]


Chinese is distinguished by its high level of internal diversity, although all varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken, by far, is Mandarin (about 850 million), followed by Wu (90 million), Cantonese (Yue) (70 million) and Min (50 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, although some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility.


Native speakers Native: 240 million (1991–1997)[1]
Second language: 165 million (1999)[2]
Total: 490 million (2006)[3]



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