There was a post on Language Log some time ago
I don't know how long you've been with them but ten years ago they were giving me a hard time. Nice to hear they're still going.
Basically, everyone who speaks Chinese can read Mandarin
Do they have any choice? Are any of the other Chinese languages (not Uighar, Tibetan et al) written down? Or does it not matter anyway if everyone is using the same ideograms?
; but according to whether they speak Mandarin, Cantonese or another Chinese dialect/language,
Does anyone speak Mandarin? Or does everyone speak Mandarin? I should like to know whether it is a true mother-tongue or, as it were, a national convenience.
they will mean something different to speakers of other variants of Chinese.
But not ironically, in theory at least, to Japanese speakers insofar as they use the same ideograms. Or have I got this wrong?
The languages of South India are totally unrelated to Hindi.
Perhaps you could say what the relationship between Urdu and Hindi is. I have always assumed the differences were more political than actual but both sides deny it!