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Broken chiral symmetry has become the basis for a unified treatment of hadronic interactions at low energies. After reviewing mechanisms for spontaneous chiral symmetry breaking, I outline the construction of the low--energy effective field theory of the Standard Model called chiral perturbation theory. The loop expansion and the renormalization procedure for this nonrenormalizable quantum field theory are developed. Evidence for the standard scenario with a large quark condensate is presented,doi:10.1007/bfb0105525 fatcat:tpmppytg2fapxded56cknqpnty