Ancient China is one of the oldest surviving civilization in the world. Chinese characters are considered to be the world's longest continuously used writing system. The earliest Chinese characters were pictographs on oracle bones 甲骨文, such as a crescent for the moon. Then gradually developed into more complex characters to represent abstract concepts.

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The number of Chinese characters contained in the ZhongHua ZiHai 《中華字海》/《中华字海》 dictionary published in 1994 is approximately 85 thousands, although a huge number of these are rarely used variants accumulated throughout history. Studies have shown that an average literacy only requires a few thousand characters. Chinese characters are often used in Japanese KanJi/かんじ, Korean HanJa/한자 and formerly Vietnamese HánTự/ChữNho.

Chinese characters are called HanZi 漢字/汉字, or Square-Block Characters 方塊字/方块字, a written form shared by all Chinese languages speakers, though some variation between traditional 繁體字 and simplified 简化字 versions. The majority of Chinese characters consist of two elements: a "signific" which indicates the meaning, and a "phonetic" which indicates the sound. Chinese characters are monosyllabic and tonal, each Chinese character can be pronounced with exactly one initial 聲母/声母 (consonant) followed by one final 韻母/韵母 (vowel or compound vowel) plus a tone 音韻/声调.

Standard Mandarin 國語/華語/普通话 is the official language spoken in mainland China, as well as Taiwan and Singapore. In fact, Mandarin is the most widely spoken language in the world, with more native speakers than any other language globally. Since 1958, standardised PinYin 拼音 system was introduced as a way to learn pronunciation in Mandarin.

Standard Cantonese 粵語/廣州话 is a prestige colloquial language widely spoken in Southern China, regions that around Canton/GuangZhou 廣州/广州 area including HongKong 香港 and Macau 澳門, also in Singapore and every Chinese Community oversea. Although Mandarin is the official language spoken in mainland China, it has only been around for about 700 to 800 years, while Cantonese has more than 2000 years of history. If you are trading with businesses in HongKong and surrounding Pearl River Delta area, or dealing with Chinese people abroad, you may find Cantonese more useful.

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