Is Chinese one language with many dialects or a language family consisting of many different languages? For political reasons, Chinese is often branded as a single language, but linguists classify it as a language family, since the languages within are often so divergent that they cannot be mutually understood. The biggest Chinese language is Mandarin—the lingua franca of China. But there are many others as well, such as the Gan languages, a grouping of Sinitic languages native to southern China.
Gan languages are significantly different from Mandarin, to the point that they are mutually unintelligible. However, the central government’s promotion of Mandarin as the national language of China has led to a decline in Gan language speakers, threatening Gan’s survival into the future. That’s why you can’t easily locate translation firms that work with Gan—they just work with Mandarin instead. But TranslationServices.com does have a Gan translation team, and we’re proud of it. After all, Gan is an important cultural asset to its speakers, and we want to preserve this valuable artifact of Chinese culture.
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What are some of the idiosyncrasies of Gan languages?
The Gan languages are spoken by around 22 million people in southern China—namely, in parts of Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei, Anhui, and Fujian. They are more closely related to Mandarin than the Wu or Yue languages—but this doesn’t mean that they’re very similar to Mandarin. They’re most closely related to the Xiang subfamily, spoken largely in Hunan. Gan experienced a dramatic decline in speakers since the mid-20th century, owing to government campaigns to promote Mandarin, but interest in revitalizing and preserving Gan has blossomed in recent years, with Gan sometimes appearing in local media.
Gan has preserved many archaic words and expressions that have fallen out of use in Mandarin, which can make the language difficult for Mandarin speakers to read. In addition, Gan uses a number of sentence-final particles to strengthen an utterance or express a given feeling, and this nuance would be lost on a Mandarin speaker. In terms of grammar, Gan languages have no tense, which is common in Sinitic languages, but the language group instead features nine aspects, which effectively take the place of tense. The default word order is subject-verb-object, like Mandarin, but subject-object-verb and object-subject-verb are also possible, depending on the nuance.
Given the differences between Gan and Mandarin, it’s clear that dedicated Gan translation services are warranted. Our Gan translators are proud to occupy this important niche.
Dive into Gan translations, no matter your needs.
With so few other companies offering Gan translation services, we’re proud to step up to the challenge, both for Gan-to-English translation and English-to-Gan translation. Why might you like Gan translation services? Perhaps you’d like to translate Gan literature (contemporary or traditional), historical documents, academic notes, or anything else and disseminate them to an international audience. Or maybe you’re working to promote Gan languages and want to see more materials in Gan—from books and poetry to websites and apps. No matter your reason for needing Gan translation services, our team is here for you.
Let’s discuss your vision for Gan translation services over email. Reach out to us today!