Today’s Historical Text comes from the Chinese Students’ Monthly of November 1908. The paragraph, on page 24 of the issue, addresses something that has been a difficulty of Chinese peoples for thousands of years: the diversity of languages among the different regions of China. What many in the US think of as “Chinese” is typically either Mandarin – a northern dialect – or Cantonese – a southern dialect – but in fact there are dozens of other languages within the borders of China. Although these languages all use the same Chinese characters, many are not mutually intelligible when spoken. Much like the solution the current People’s Republic of China has come up with, the CSA suggests using Mandarin as a lingua franca among the students of different dialects.