Mandarin is the language of the Han ethnic group and the main language of China; the lingua franca, if you will. Standard spoken Mandarin is called putonghua. Based on the northern dialect, putonghua uses Beijing phonetics as the standard, and the modern vernacular works as the grammatical norm. However, this does not mean that the Beijing and northern dialects equal putonghua. If one wants to study putonghua, he must first learn the scheme for Chinese phonetics. This scheme uses the Latin alphabet and additional symbols above each word that represent the four intonations. In addition to putonghua, there are eight dialects, each with sub-dialects. Among the 56 ethnic groups in China, the Han, Hui, Man and She communicate in Mandarin, and the others communicate in their own languages.