Language

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the language most spoken at home after English and Spanish, is Chinese (2 million speakers).

The Chinese language has many dialects. Mandarin is the official Chinese language, but many Chinese Americans speak:

  • Cantonese
  • Taiwanese
  • Shanghainese
  • Fukinese and
  • Other dialects

However, individuals who speak any of the Chinese dialects can read the Chinese written language which is not necessarily tied to the spoken languages. They all share a common written language so Chinese characters are understandable by all Chinese people who are literate. However, there are some important differences between written Chinese in Mainland China and in Taiwan. Since the 1950s, Mainland China has used simplified characters, a way of writing characters with less detail. Taiwan uses only traditional characters, which are more complex.