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UN Chinese Language Day – April 20, 2023

UN Chinese Language Day is held on April 20 every year. It is a holiday that is used to celebrate cultural diversity and multilingualism. The Chinese language is one of the six official languages chosen by the United Nations. The holiday helps to promote equal usage of the official languages. There are six days that are dedicated to each of the six official languages. These holidays are observed all around the world. The events of the day help to promote Chinese culture and the beauty of diversity. It is an opportunity for everyone to understand how different cultures have many similarities as well as differences.

History of UN Chinese Language Day

The Chinese language has been in existence for thousands of years. The Sino-Tibetan language family was formed by the Chinese and the credit for the origin of the Chinese language goes to Cangjie. Cangjie is a well-known and important figure in ancient China. He is known to be an official historian of the Yellow Emperor and the inventor of Chinese characters. The date for the holiday was chosen to honor Cangjie. The first official historians invented the Chinese characters when the Yellow Emperor first began his reign. Different dialects formed and spread throughout the provinces of China. Most of the archaic Chinese that were spoken during the early and middle 11th to 7th centuries B.C, isn’t seen much in modern Chinese.

UN Chinese Language Day was established by the U.N. to promote cultural diversity and multilingualism. The aim was to spread more information to people about the history of the Chinese language. People are taught about the benefits they can enjoy by learning to speak the Chinese language. The United Nations made it an official language in 1946 and the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language In 1973. Many people in the United Nations work with Chinese as a functional language.

Promoting the use of the Chinese language helps to encourage more people to speak more than one language. Learning languages is great for the mind and helps to expand your horizons. More people get to see how interesting diving into other cultures can be. There is a lot we can all learn from cultures all over the world. Learning another language, like Chinese, also helps us to connect with people who speak the same language.

UN Chinese Language Day timeline

1911
Mandarin Becomes China’s National Language

Mandarin becomes the official language of China when Dr. Sun Yat Sen overthrows the Qing Dynasty.

1913
The Chinese Nationalist Party is Established

The Conference on Unification of Pronunciation teaches Mandarin as the official national standard.

1946
The Chinese Language is Adopted

The United Nations adopts the Chinese language as one of its official languages.

2019
Chinese is Widely Spoken

About 1.3 billion people in the world speak some form of the Chinese language.

UN Chinese Language Day FAQs

How old is the Chinese language?

The Chinese characters are believed to have been invented by Cangjie about 5,000 years ago.

Do many people speak Mandarin?

Mandarin is spoken and understood by most of the people in China — an estimated 95%.

What is the most complicated Chinese character?

‘Biang’ is the most difficult Chinese character with 57 strokes that has to be written twice.

How to Observe UN Chinese Language Day

  1. Speak Chinese

    You can speak Chinese throughout the day as a way to honor the holiday. Whether you are a fluent speaker or only know a few phrases, practice speaking the language with family and friends. You may even teach them a word or two!

  2. Learn about the culture

    Learn more about Chinese culture by reading books or watching documentaries. There are a lot of interesting parts of the culture that may surprise you. You might also see how certain Chinese practices or beliefs might be similar to your culture.

  3. Eat Chinese food

    Eating some Chinese food is the easiest way to take part in the culture. Enjoy your favorite Chinese dish and appreciate the country it comes from. You can order takeouts, or maybe cook up your own Chinese dish at home. Don’t forget your chopsticks!

5 Facts About The Chinese Language That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. It is a pictographic language

    Chinese is a pictographic language like the hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.

  2. The Chinese language doesn’t have an alphabet

    The Chinese language doesn’t have a segmented alphabet but is learned by studying different characters.

  3. There are over 50,000 Chinese characters

    The Chinese language has over 50,000 characters and some Chinese dictionaries say that it’s much higher than that.

  4. You don’t need all 50,000 characters

    You can speak and read the Chinese language if you only know about 20,000 characters.

  5. There is no gender in the language

    There are no feminine or masculine words when writing or speaking Chinese.

Why UN Chinese Language Day is Important

  1. It promotes multilingualism

    The holiday encourages more people to learn and speak multiple languages. This allows more people to communicate better around the world.

  2. It keeps the culture alive

    Promoting the Chinese language helps to keep the culture alive. This is how we preserve culture and tradition.

  3. There are different dialects of Chinese

    The Chinese speak over 1,500 different dialects, which can be lumped together to form main languages. The national and most widely spoken language in China is Mandarin.

UN Chinese Language Day dates

YearDateDay
2023April 20Thursday
2024April 20Saturday
2025April 20Sunday
2026April 20Monday
2027April 20Tuesday

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