This is particularly true in the case of Chinese ethnohistory. Discussing linguistic groups in the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China (PRC), for example, is particularly difï¬cult because the government insists on maintaining the ï¬ction that there is only one Chinese language, and that it is divided into a series of dialects.To argue otherwise would require government ofï¬cials to recognize major ethnicdivisions with the dominant Han people, something Chinese ofï¬cials have been extremely reluctant to do. Most linguists argue, however, that the deï¬nition of â€˜â€˜dialectâ€™â€™ means that it is mutually intelligible by users of other â€˜â€˜dialectsâ€™â€™ of the same language. The Chinese government claims that eight dialects of the language exist within the national boundaries: Mandarin, Wu, Jin, Gan, Xiang, Hakka, Yue, and Min. The problem with that deï¬nition, of course, is that none of these so-called dialects is mutually intelligible with the other. The people who speak them may very well be united by their Han* descent and their shared eclectic mix of Buddhist, Taoist,and Confucian religious beliefs, but they cannot understand one anotherâ€™s spoken languages, which should render them members of different ethnic groups. Complicating the issue even more is the fact that each of the Chinese languages possesses many dialects, and some of those dialects are not mutually intelligible to speakers of related dialects.At the same time, however, all Chinese languages share an unusual linguistic similarity. They cannot be mutually understood by different speakers, but they all employ the same written script, which is mutually readable. http://www.scribd.com/doc/46905626/Olson-An-Ethnohistorical-Dictionary-China There are so many groups and sub groups that it is a fascinating kaleidoscope. It is worth a read by the serious scholar.