The area of China is approximately 9,600,000 square kilometres. It covers 1/15 of the world’s total land area.
China is so big that there are many different dialects. The official spoken language is called Pǔ tōng huà (the common speech). As a Chinese character does not indicate its pronunciation, the Pīn yīn system was developed as part of a Chinese government project in 1950s. The pronunciation is primarily based on Beijing (the capital city) and the northern phonetic system.
A character is usually represented by a syllable, and most syllables have an initial (what comes first) and a final (what comes last), although some syllables do not have an initial. There are 21 initials and 36 finals in Pīn yīn. Continue reading