Sabrina said in one of her tweets that Chinese people don’t speak Chinese, they speak Mandarin. Are you confused by this? Haha…In fact, the truth is that Mandarin is the official language in China, so you can say it is the most popular language in Mainland China. In many places, however, people don’t speak Mandarin. In stead, they use dialects, their true native language, to communicate with others. In addition, the dialects are so different with each other that even two people who come from the same province cannot understand each other.
Usually, schools teach children to speak Mandarin. Based on my memory, Mandarin was only used during classes. We still spoke dialects after classes. And my parents don’t speak Mandarin though my father thinks his Mandarin is pretty standard (Maybe it’s his teacher’s fault, haha). In fact, my boyfriend, who comes from another province, can hardly understand him. It has become a new problem in many Chinese families since more and more people who are from different places get married. One of my friend told me that she could only understand one sentence during the one month she stayed at his boyfriend’s hometown, and that was Chifan (Eating dinner).
In terms of Chinese people who are in foreign countries, have you noticed what kind of Chinese languages they were using? Maybe from the language you can tell whether they come from the same hometown or not.