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Celebrate the Chinese Language Day April 20th at the UN

By: MD Ismail Posted on Tue, 12-04-2022

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The Chinese language is one of the most spoken languages in the world. It is the language of the second-largest economy in the world. Therefore, many people from developing countries are learning this language. This language has a very rich heritage that has existed in the world for thousands of years. 

Chinese is one of the official languages of the UN. To give honor to this language, the UN observes Chinese language day every year on April 20th. Initially, it was celebrated in 2010 to boost multilingualism and cultural diversity. Moreover, the United Nation wanted to promote the equal use of all of its six official languages which are English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish. The first UN Chinese language day was celebrated on November 12, 2010. However, in 2011, the date was changed to April 20.

Rich History of Chinese Language Day

The Chinese language is derived from the Sino-Tibetian family of languages. With time, it alienated the family. Therefore, the origin of the Chinese language is unknown, but some people say that the existence of the Chinese language is attributed to Cangjie. Who is Cangjie?

He is the pioneer of Chinese characters. He invented these characters during the period of the Yellow Emperor. Despite his contribution, different dialects of the Chinese language were still invented in the different provinces of China. During the early and middle periods of the 7th to 11th centuries B.C, people used to speak archaic Chinese, but it has no impact on modern Chinese which is spoken today.

During the Dynasties of Sui Tang and Song from the 7th century to 10th centuries A.D, links can be easily related to modern Chinese languages. In those days, people used to serve their emperors with distinct writing styles. Chinese language day is celebrated to commemorate the contribution of Cangjie to this language. The objective of this day is to educate the people about the history and importance of the Chinese language.

Why this Day is Celebrated on 20th April

Guyu ("Rain of Millet") is the 6th solar term out of 24 solar terms in East Asian calendars selected as the day for the Chinese language celebration. This day is celebrated to pay honor to Cangjie. He is a very significant man in the history of the yellow emperor and credit for inventing Chinese characters also goes to him. It was said that when he invented the characters, the ghosts and deities cried and the millet rained from the sky. From then onwards, Chinese people started celebrating this day.

Chinese language at the UN

Did you know that the Chinese language became the official language of the United States in 1946? Before this time, the Chinese language was not much used in the chores of the UN. People started using this language when lawful rights were given to the People of the Republic of China in 1971 by the United Nations. In 1973, the general assembly considered Chinese a working language, and in 1974, the UN council followed the same. At present, Chinese is spoken in all of the offices of the UN.

Two Different Forms of Chinese Language

People write the Chinese language in two forms: simplified and traditional. Due to the complexity of this language, the Chinese government tried to simplify its characters in the 1950s. They did this to make the Chinese language easy. They think by doing this they can improve the literacy rate of the nation, which will in return increase the economic condition of the country. In China, people use Simplified Chinese whereas in Hong Kong and Taiwan people use Traditional Chinese.

Spoken Forms of the Chinese Language: Mandarin and Cantonese

Mandarin is the main dialect that is taught in Chinese schools. Moreover, all the TV and radio broadcasts are done in this language. On the other hand, Cantonese is spoken in Macau, Hong Kong, and the province of Guangdong and Southern China. 

If you want to do business with China and are looking for Chinese translation and transcreation services, then do consider these factors. Moreover, you need to check the region in which it is spoken. The old Chinese generation living in the United States, inhabitants of Southeast Asia along with the Western world speak the Cantonese language. On the contrary, Mandarin is the language of new Chinese speakers. Overseas Chinese people speak Hokkien another dialect of the Chinese language.

How UN Chinese Language Day is Celebrated

The UN and its organization celebrate Chinese language day by organizing different events. In these events, they throw light on the rich heritage and history of this amazing language. Seminars and workshops are also conducted to give honor to famous Chinese authors, poets, and calligraphers. In addition to it, calligraphy exhibitions and music concerts are organized around the globe. The important thing to note is that there is no official holiday given on this day. All government organizations and schools are open as per the normal schedule.

Wrapping Up

Languages are an important part of cultures. The living nations make efforts to preserve their languages. The UN's efforts to promote different cultures and languages on the global level by celebrating language days is commendable. Such days should also be celebrated in the countries to enhance literature and art in the world.

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