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zozzen

The Revival of Traditional Characters is Coming?

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anonymoose

Most mainland Chinese people I know can quite well understand traditional characters even if they can't write them, and since people are writing less and less by hand, this isn't really an issue anyway.

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zozzen
Most mainland Chinese people I know can quite well understand traditional characters even if they can't write them, and since people are writing less and less by hand, this isn't really an issue anyway.

Yes, I always send SMS in traditional chinese and so far only one complained that he can't read it, but he's a vietnamese who is learning simplified characters in his school. But I have doubts about kids' ability to read it. I tried to write a notice to a group of 5-15-year-old students, and most of them aren't sure what i talked about.

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monto

Revival?

Survival may be the better term for it.

The traditional characters are dyeing out in Chinese mainland particularly mong the young.

And many Chinese don't think it is good to see them become as rare as the pandas. Me too.

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studentyoung
But I have doubts about kids' ability to read it. I tried to write a notice to a group of 5-15-year-old students, and most of them aren't sure what i talked about.

I guess you get another different result if you take your note in a calligraphy class. What’s more, I wonder if you could understand a notice written in simplified characters, when you were 5-year-old.

The traditional characters are dyeing out in Chinese mainland particularly mong the young.

Dying out? What’re those Hong Kong’s fashion magazines, vehicle magazines, IT magazine, and gossip magazines doing? They’re quite popular among teenager in Guangzhou.

Young children nowadays are overloaded with piano, violent, ballet, singing, folk dancing, painting, all kinds of cram schools 补习班, and so on. Now, they’re expected to do even more, i.e. to know a lot of traditional characters. Hehe. They’re not little children, but little adults, which reminds me of 鲁迅's words, "Save our children! Save our children!救救孩子! 救救孩子!"

Cheers!

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wushijiao
Young children nowadays are overloaded with piano, violent, ballet, singing, folk dancing, painting, all kinds of cram schools 补习班, and so on. Now, they’re expected to do even more, i.e. to know a lot of traditional characters

Hehe...I agree. I think kids are too busy to need to formally study traditional characters.

Most Mainland people that I know can read trad., but then again, some can't. I think it depends a lot on the person, and whether or not he or she has watched a lot of undubbed foreign DVD's that use trad subtitles.

Even still, I have met quite a few educated Mainlanders who claim that they can't read traditional, and in any case, many say that even if they can, they still prefer simplified because they can read it much faster. That makes sense. If you have spent thousands and thousands of hours reading in script A, compared to much less time reading in script B, then you'll most likely prefer script A.

So the real question, it seems to me, is giving people enough exposure so that they feel equally competent/fast in each. For that to happen, I think it would take more than just having the random restaurant sign or business card printed in traditional, or more than just traditional subtitles to some Hollywood action movie. I think it would take major, popular, Mainland websites, magazines or newspapers to switch over to traditional. That would then give the "masses" a good chance to practice on a daily basis. But, in a competitive media environment, you'd certainly lose a certain percentage of your audience, and I would speculate that an editor would be unlikely to take the risk, unless he or she felt that the target audience would prefer it. For example, you can find some history books (in the history book store on Fuzhou Lu in Shanghai) that are printed in the Mainland, in traditional, and, most likely, for a Mainland-based audience. My guess is that their consumers have also read many history books from Taiwan and HK that are vertical, right to left, and in trad, and the customers like that format for whatever reason, maybe for its erudite feeling of sophistication.

So, if enough history books, and then other books, and then maybe a few magazines, and then maybe a few newspapers started to publish in trad, then there might be a groundswell of support, to the point that more than 50% would prefer trad over simplified, and then the Mainland could revert back.

Another scenario that could provide the "spark" to start the popularizing trad revolution in the Mainland, might be allowing the widespread sale of all sorts of HK and Taiwan-based magazines in the Mainland.

Personally, I find either scenario highly unlikely. For both to occur, the government would need to give up the power to regulate scripts, and regulate the media in general. I don't think that will happen any time soon.

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Lu
So, if enough history books, and then other books, and then maybe a few magazines, and then maybe a few newspapers started to publish in trad, then there might be a groundswell of support, to the point that more than 50% would prefer trad over simplified, and then the Mainland could revert back.
That would be nice. Make people choose for themselves. The downside is that this would mean educating children in not one but two difficult scripts. But it would be nice if every publisher and paper could decide for themselves, and then we could really see which script is most viable.

But for this to happen, the government would have to let go of laws and regulations that say everything has to be in simplified, and I don't think that will happen any time soon.

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gato
The downside is that this would mean educating children in not one but two difficult scripts. But it would be nice if every publisher and paper could decide for themselves, and then we could really see which script is most viable.

It's not big hurdle to learn one of the scripts if one already knows the other. If foreign learners can do it without too much effort, obviously native Chinese can do it. All it takes is exposure and a quick review of some simple rules. Most mainlanders are more with traditional script than Taiwanese/HKers are with simplified scripts precisely because traditional script is so prevalent in the mainland, in movies and Karaoke subtitles, in particular.

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zozzen
It's not big hurdle to learn one of the scripts if one already knows the other. If foreign learners can do it without too much effort, obviously native Chinese can do it. All it takes is exposure and a quick review of some simple rules. Most mainlanders are more with traditional script than Taiwanese/HKers are with simplified scripts precisely because traditional script is so prevalent in the mainland, in movies and Karaoke subtitles, in particular.

not quite sure about the mainland, but the exposure to simplified characters has been getting bigger in hong kong since around a decade ago. The main sources has been the cheaper books, pirated DVDs and weekend travel to Shenzhen. And the most attractive incentive (before and after the handover) for students to learn it is that you can choose to write some characters in simplified form, which is accepted in the public exam, to speed up your writing.

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Meng Lelan
They’re not little children, but little adults, which reminds me of 鲁迅's words, "Save our children! Save our children!救救孩子! 救救孩子!"

Lu Xun was surely ahead of his time.

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character

Perhaps China will move to traditional characters just to mess with all those foreigners learning Chinese. :)

Much as I would like it to happen, I can't see them moving away from simplified. Supposedly some of the simplifications make guessing the sound of a character easier for Mandarin speakers, and it's much easier to find educational material and novels using simplified characters.

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mr.stinky

the chinese educational system already depends too much on memorization, to the

exclusion of say.....thinking. not a good idea to add another thousand or so characters

to memorize.

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rob07
Young children nowadays are overloaded with piano, violent, ballet, singing, folk dancing, painting, all kinds of cram schools 补习班, and so on. Now, they’re expected to do even more, i.e. to know a lot of traditional characters. Hehe. They’re not little children, but little adults, which reminds me of 鲁迅's words, "Save our children! Save our children!救救孩子! 救救孩子!"

Can't resist giving the full quote:

没有吃过人的孩子,或者还有?

救救孩子……

(Surely there must be children who have not eaten human flesh? Save our children!)

鲁迅's concern was based on the following well-reasoned view (I am joking obviously):

凡事总须研究,才会明白。古来时常吃人,我也还记得,可是不甚清楚。我翻开历史一查,这历史没有年代,歪歪斜斜的每叶上都写着“仁义道德”几个字。我横竖睡不着,仔细看了半夜,才从字缝里看出字来,满本都写着两个字是“吃人”!

It is from the short story 狂人日记. Eating human flesh was used as a metaphor for being totally self centred and selfish.

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atitarev
the chinese educational system already depends too much on memorization, to the

exclusion of say.....thinking. not a good idea to add another thousand or so characters

to memorize.

Agreed.

About subtitles in traditional script, which was mentioned several times - there is no problem having movies with both simplified/traditional, at least for Hong Kong movies, not sure about Taiwan. So, mainlanders are not forced to use traditional.

Also, I was in Singapore recently. English movies are shown with Chinese simplified but Taiwanese series are sometimes in simplified but mostly in traditional script.

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ABCinChina

The revival of traditional characters will not likely happen in our lifetime. I don't see what the big difference between the two are as anyone who can read one, can basically read the other since the context is all the same. There's only 30% or so words that are different which all have similar shapes and can be guessed. Many Chinese people in the US prefer traditional since most of them came from Taiwan or Hong Kong. In the end, it's just a matter of preference.

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zozzen
If the castrated version was published in traditional characters and written in a poor writing level, very possible, you would feel the same.

yes, if the castrated version were published in traditional characters..................

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studentyoung
yes, if the castrated version were published in traditional characters..................

Yes, no matter what kind of characters the castrated version were published in , you would be fair and objective!

Cheers!

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zozzen

There's lesser concerns about the castrated version in the traditional script now. Maybe in the future when china is more to the world , and make simplified chinese script practically possible to deliver more information than it have done today, simplified script can make a better impression.

Ask taiwanese and hongkongese about how they think of japanese simplified kanji and the simplified script of our motherland. Both are simplified script, but when it appears on the product, which one you intrinsically prefer . Brushed aside nationalistic sentiment, it's much easier to find out a businessman who intend to use traditional scripts, more than vice versa. I expect a call for being objective, fair and rational consumption behavior, but as said, what it delivers is more important than the script itself.

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Quest

I'd love to see a unified script, wouldn't care much which one it is as long as its Chinese characters. Realistically, I think the simplified script has a brighter future, but it will only achieve that unique position if and when China dominates the region in culture, science, and everything... that said if I could vote on the decision to go simplified 50 years ago, I would vehemently vote no.

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muyongshi

I have to agree with Quest on this one flat out. Unified script would be the best option. Fix some of the blunders but leave most of the simplified alone (blunders=爱)

I think that for any bridge as the first post mentioned between the old and new "culture" or whatever will not come from the characters themselves but rather the education system. Educating children about the history of the characters will do a much better job and raise awareness, etc of it but that does not effect which script is used in daily life.

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zozzen

yeah, i agree with quest that the future of simplified script relies on what it can deliver to the Chinese culture. Talking about this constraint seems to offend a few member here (don't put fire on other thread, cheers! :help) , but comparison between simplified kanji and simplified hanji makes it too obvious to realize the problem isn't the script itself, but the content it makes.

But even if it can show the world greater intellectual property, academic knowledge and a new ideology, the sentiment will persist if no new policy is made across the straits. Not much hope for this.

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