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zh-cn:普通话 zh-tw:國語

Pŭtōngh¨a (普通話) was adopted by the People's Republic of China as the official pronunciation of Chinese language words. It literally means "ordinary speak."

In practice it can be viewed as being identical to Mandarin Chinese. The theory behind putonghua, however, is very different from that of guoyu (國語,lit. "national language"). Guoyu is based exclusively on the pronunciation of words from Beijing and putonghua is influenced by non-Beijing pronunciations. However in practice the differences are small differences with guoyu in:

  1. tone
  2. transcription: putonghua uses Pinyin

Putonghua and guoyu refer to speech and hence the difference in the use of simplified characters and traditional characters is not usually considered to be a difference between these two concepts.