Chinese idiom is a unique way of expression in Chinese, mostly composed of four Chinese characters. Although highly concise and fixed in form, they usually entail profound meanings. Most idioms stem from ancient Chinese literature and are usually related with certain myths, legends or historical events. It is difficult to understand its exact meaning with little knowledge of its origin as learning idioms helps people better understand Chinese traditional culture. Idioms are widely used in daily conversation and literary creation. Proper use of idioms can make a person's language more expressive and help to deliver a more effective communication.
As China boasts a vast land and a huge population, many people speak their own dialects, which vary greatly in pronunciation but slightly in vocabulary and grammar. Some dialects, esp. those of the north and the south, are so different that their speakers have great difficulty in understanding each other. Although the dialect is considered as a component of the local culture, the number of people who can speak the dialect is dropping continuously. In order to encourage people to use the dialect more often, some local governments have taken measures such as dialect lessons and dialect programmes on TV or radio in the hope of preserving the local cultural legacy.
The Chinese language is used as the mother tongue by the great number of people in the world. One of the significant differences between Chinese and Western languages lies in its composition of characters instead of letters. Although people from different parts of China may not understand each other's dialect, they have no difficulty in communicating simply because there exists a unified writing form for Chinese characters. Chinese played a very important role in the unification of the Chinese nation. Today, with China's rapid economic growth and increasing global influence, more and more foreign people begin to study Chinese.