ĦĦĦĦAmong the 55 ethnic
minorities of China, only the Hui and Manchu use the
Han language (Chinese). The others speak their own languages;
29 have languages in the Chinese-Tibetan language family.
These groups live in central, south and southwest China.
Seventeen groups have languages of the Altaic language
family. These are found in northeast and northwest China.
Three have languages in the language family of South
Asia, and two speak Indo-European languages. In the
Indonesian language family are the Gaoshan people of
Taiwan, and there is one group whose language type has
not yet been traced. Many times various ethnic minority
groups speak each other's languages. The Tajik, Ozbek
and Tatar speak Uygur, for instance.
ĦĦĦĦBefore the founding
of the People's Republic in 1949 there were 21 ethnic
minority groups (including Hui, Manchu and She using
the written script of the Hans) that had their own written
languages. Some of these written languages are pictographic
or ideographic scripts; others have alphabets or syllabic
systems, such as Tibetan, Korean, Uygur, Dai and Arabic.
There were also some people that used several written
scripts concurrently. The Dai, for example, had four,
while the Mongolians had two.