The ancient Chinese language sometimes is also known as Sinitic language is often branded as being unintelligent. This language family is said to have roots in the Han Chinese people. Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages today.
Ancient Chinese Language
About one-fifth of the world’s population which amounts to about one billion people speak the few varieties of this language. The varieties, in fact, are not different languages rather different dialects of the same. In China, one can easily judge the place of residence of a person by the dialect he speaks.
The language is considered to be very diverse despite almost all the varieties being tonal and analytic. The main regional areas in China are basically divided in around seven to thirteen regional groups.
Mandarin spoken by above 850 million people constitutes the most spoken of varieties followed by Wu at 90 million people, Cantonese at 70 million people and Min at 50 million speakers. All these dialects are considered mutually unintelligent. ISO 639-3 brands Chinese as a macro language composed of 13 component languages.
Tracing the change in the sound of Chinese is made tougher by the fact that the language is written using logographic characters and not ordinary letters. Historians have often tried constructing middle Chinese to trace old Chinese coz the direct route seems quite impossible. Riming dictionaries have a big say in ancient Chinese language as the language seems to revolve around rhymed texts.
Ancient China languages first and earliest evidence came in the form of an inscription on an oracle bone. This is stated to have belonged to the ancient Shang state of China in about 1200 BC.
Though deciphering the language was almost impossible, this was nowhere close to the Chinese people speak today. The language was then termed as archaic and has ever since been found in several excavations.
Such inscriptions have been found on oracle bones and bronze vessels all across China. Historians are of the view that the archaic vocabulary is composed of about 3,000 to 4,000 elements. They further believe that most of the elements are proper nouns. However, this ancient language was found quite poor in grammar as compared to the classical Chinese.
The period between 600 BC and 200 BC is considered to be the golden era of Classical Chinese Literature and Philosophy. Notable Chinese works like Analects and Mencius are classic examples of Chinese prose.