Glossary: putonghua

The common spoken language; also called guoyu (national language). The official spoken language of China, used in its various forms by more than 70 percent of the population. The Peoples Republic government started promoting putonghua in 1956 for use in schools, the cultural arena, and daily life as a means of bringing about the standardization of the language used by the Han (q.v.) nationality. Putonghua is based on the northern dialect, and uses Beijing pronunciations as its standard.

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