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Antonia ☆¸.•*`*•*
Can you tell me the difference between these terms for chinese language?

Hello everyone,

I recently started learning Simplified Chinese at the University. In the first lesson the professor referred to some terms which if I understood well they mean "Chinese language". The terms are: zhōngwén (中文), hànyǔ (汉语) and pǔtōnghuà (普通话). What's the difference between these three words and which one of them stands for what we call in English "Mandarin Chinese"? Also, in which regions/countries will I encounter Traditional Chinese and where Simplified Chinese?

Thanks in advance, Antonia xx

Jul 10, 2016 6:07 PM
Comments · 4
Generally, 中文=汉语。But 中文or 汉语 involve 普通话 and 地方方言(like London tune)。
July 11, 2016
zhongwen  refers to the formal Chinese language.It also includes Chinese literature.While hanyu just only refers to the language which people of Han use. And it doesn't includes Chinese literature.Well as for Mandarin,it is exactly putonghua.In Hong Kong ,traditional Chinese is widely used.Some overseas Chinese may use traditional Chinese.May that can help you !
July 11, 2016



I am very sorry, my english is not enough to explain the difference that you asked exactly. the easy answer is zhongwen = hanyu, putonghua is the zhongwen's standard speech sound. because there are lots of oral speech sounds in china. I hope you can understand.

zhong means chinese, wen means language, han means han nation, yu means language, 

putong means common, hua means language.

To decribe language in china, we can use the wen/yu/hua  文/语/话.

July 11, 2016

Putonghua is the term used for "Mandarin". For clarification about the different terms see here:

There are several very good answers by native Chinese speakers.

July 10, 2016
Antonia ☆¸.•*`*•*
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin), Italian, Russian, Spanish