Chinese Language Families

Chinese Language Families

The languages in China fall into five language families Han Tibetan, Altaic, Austro-Asiatic, Malyo-Polynesian and Indo-European. The first one is the biggest, with three major branches and dozens of languages. The three branches are Zhuang, Dong, Tibeto-Burman and Miao-Yao. The second largest family is Altaic with two major branches : Turkic and Mongol-Tungus. This family of languages is dispersed across the north of China. The big ones are Mongolian, Uighur, Kazak, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Manchu and Korean.

There are just three languages in the Austro-Asiatic family. They are Wa, Blang and Deang. All of them are on the southwestern border. The Malyo-Polynesian languages are spoken by the natives on the Taiwan Island. The Indo-European is the smallest family with only two languages: Russian and Tajik.