Notions of "Chinese"
(1,457 words)

In general usage, the word “Chinese” has many different meanings. In a general sense, it can be used to refer to the territories, peoples, and languages of the People’s Republic of China or of other states that have controlled all or parts of China. More specifically, it is sometimes used to refer to people who today identify as part of the Hàn 漢 ethnic group or who are retroactively identified with that group, to any or all of the Sinitic languages, past or present (that is, languages belonging…

Cite this page
Matthew M. ANDERSON, “Notions of "Chinese"”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 16 December 2018 <>
First published online: 2015

▲   Back to top   ▲