In general, an opinion is a judgment, viewpoint, or statement about matters commonly considered to be subjective.
What distinguishes fact from opinion is that facts are verifiable, i.e. can be objectively proven to have occurred. An example is: "United States of America was involved in the Vietnam War" versus "United States of America was right to get involved in the Vietnam War". An opinion may be supported by facts, in which case it becomes an argument, although people may draw opposing opinions from the same set of facts. Opinions rarely change without new arguments being presented. It can be reasoned that one opinion is better supported by the facts than another by analyzing the supporting arguments. In casual use, the term opinion may be the result of a person's perspective, understanding, particular feelings, beliefs, and desires. It may refer to unsubstantiated information, in contrast to knowledge and fact.
Collective or professional opinions are defined as meeting a higher standard to substantiate the opinion. (see below)
In law, a legal opinion is usually a written explanation by a judge or group of judges that accompanies an order or ruling in a case, laying out the rationale and legal principles for the ruling.
Opinions are usually published at the direction of the court, and to the extent they contain pronouncements about what the law is and how it should be interpreted, they reinforce, change, establish, or overturn legal precedent. If a court decides that an opinion should be published, the opinion is included in a volume from a series of books called law reports (or reporters in the United States). Published opinions of courts are also collectively referred to as case law, which is one of the major sources of law in common lawlegal systems.
Not every case decided by a higher court results in the publication of an opinion; in fact many cases do not, since an opinion is often published only when the law is being interpreted in a novel way, or the case is a high-profile matter of general public interest and the court wishes to make the details of its ruling public.
In the majority of American cases, the judges issue what is called a memorandum decision that indicates how state or federal law applies to the case and affirms or reverses the decision of the lower court. A memorandum decision does not establish legal precedent or re-interpret the law, and cannot be invoked in subsequent cases to justify a ruling. Opinions, on the other hand, always establish a particular legal interpretation.
The varieties of Chinese are usually described by native speakers as dialects of a single Chinese language, but linguists note that they are as diverse as a language family.
The internal diversity of Chinese has been likened to that of the Romance languages, but may be even more varied. There are between 7 and 13 main regional groups of Chinese (depending on classification scheme), of which the most spoken by far is Mandarin (about 960 million), followed by Wu (80 million), Yue (60 million) and Min (70 million). Most of these groups are mutually unintelligible, although some, like Xiang and the Southwest Mandarin dialects, may share common terms and some degree of intelligibility. All varieties of Chinese are tonal and analytic.
The Sinitic languages, are a family of Sino-Tibetan languages, often synonymous with the group of Chinese varieties. They have frequently been postulated to constitute a primary branch, but this is rejected by an increasing number of researchers. The Bai languages and possible relatives, whose classification is difficult, may also be Sinitic; otherwise Sinitic is equivalent to Chinese, and the term may be used to indicate that the varieties of Chinese are distinct languages rather than dialects of a single language.
van Driem, George (2001), Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region, Brill, ISBN90-04-10390-2
Enfield, N.J. (2003), Linguistics Epidemiology: Semantics and Language Contact in Mainland Southeast Asia, Psychology Press, ISBN0415297435
Hannas, W. (1997), Asia's Orthographic Dilemma, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN082481892X
Kurpaska, Maria (2010), Chinese Language(s): A Look Through the Prism of "The Great Dictionary of Modern Chinese Dialects", Walter de Gruyter, ISBN978-3-11-021914-2