Chinese, in its various forms, is spoken today by over a billion people, making it the most spoken language in the world. A member of the Sino-Tibetan family, it is a tone language with an analytic structure. First published in 1814, this grammar of colloquial Chinese was compiled by the Christian missionary Joshua Marshman (1768–1837), who was inspired to do so after preparing a Chinese translation of the Bible. It begins with a preliminary essay outlining the characters of Chinese, its tones, its system of monosyllables and its relationship to neighbouring languages. The grammar itself is extensive, covering all aspects of the language's structure, including case, agreement, pronouns, verbs, mood, tense, prosody, parts of speech and dialect variation. Illustrated with numerous examples and explaining each grammatical concept in detail, this work remains useful and relevant in historical linguistics.