Extant evidence suggests that Chinese was the only language in East Asia to be committed to writing for almost two thousand years , despite evidence to suggest that earlier states, such as Wu or Vue, included ethnically and linguistically non -Chinese populations (Fairbank et al. 1989: 35-7). In later centuries in the non-Chinese periphery to the Chinese cultural sphere, such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam, Classical (or Literary) Chinese became the normal written language of government and literature, but at no time does spoken Chinese appear to have significantly taken root, despite the substantial impact that it was to have on Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese lexis.