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Traditional Chinese

中国 - 民族 China - People

Hello again, friends and welcome to Window on the World. We are learning about the People's Republic of China. The Chinese have one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations. Today, China's population is the largest of any country in the world. It is estimated that the population is over 1.5 billion people.

The people of China speak Standard Chinese which is based on the Mandarin dialect. This is the national language and is spoken by the majority of the population. Many other dialects are also spoken, including Cantonese, Fukinese, and Hakka in southern China. Chinese is written in characters. There are about 8,000 characters currently in use. Basic literacy requires a knowledge of 1,500 to 2,000 characters.

The family has always been important to the Chinese. A Chinese wedding is very simple. A couple joins family and friends in a marriage celebration. A woman usually keeps her given name and does not take the family name of her husband. Sons are highly valued and they are expected to provide for their parents in their old age.

A Chinese home is usually small. Small apartments are common in cities, while simple dirt?floor houses are common in rural areas. In the cities, most housing is owned by the government. Many families often save for many years to build their own homes. Having a house is a symbol of a better life. Most people also want their children to be well educated. Parents hope that their children will be successful when they are grown.

The people enjoy attending the theater, operas, ballets, and films. An average Chinese person may attend more than 10 cultural events each year. Sports are also popular. Favorites include table tennis, swimming, and soccer. Parks and courtyards are often filled in the morning by people who practice t'ai chi, a traditional form of shadowboxing that provides exercise and meditation. People also enjoy gathering to play cards and table games. A game that began in China, is majiang. This is the nation's most popular table game.

There are so many interesting things to learn about the people of China. We hardly have enough time for all of it! I hope you will listen again next week when we continue to find out about the foods that the people enjoy. Farewell for now friends!

- updated every Wednesday afternoon -



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