Chinese 101

In general, all spoken varieties of Chinese are isolating languages, in that they depend on syntax (word order and sentence structure) rather than morphology (changes in the form of the word through inflection). Because they are isolating languages, they make heavy use of grammatical particles to indicate aspect and mood.

Chinese features Subject Verb Object word order, and like many other languages in East Asia, makes frequent use of the topic-comment construction to form sentences. Even though Chinese has no grammatical gender, it has an extensive system of measure words, another trait shared with neighbouring (but not related) languages like Japanese and Korean. See Chinese measure words for an extensive coverage of this subject.

Other notable grammatical features common to all the spoken varieties of Chinese include the use of serial verb construction, pronoun dropping (and the related subject dropping), and the use of aspect rather than tense.

Although the grammars of the spoken varieties share many traits, they do possess various differences. See Chinese grammar for the grammar of Standard Mandarin (the standardized Chinese spoken language), and the articles on other varieties of Chinese for their respective grammars.

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