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wix

Traditional vs Simplified characters

Do you prefer traditional or simplified characters?  

62 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer traditional or simplified characters?

    • Traditional
      94
    • Simplified
      83
    • dou keyi (no preference)
      51


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tanhql

most of the time, for native chinese who have learn the simplified chinese, reading common traditional chinese(like those in subtitles of a movie) is relatively easy, like me. i have mixed feelings about traditional chinese; on one hand, it's beautiful; but on another hand, a character with 30 over strokes in a tiny square on a composition paper may just seem to be a big dot.

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skylee

Re merging of characters. This is the aspect of simplified script that I hate most. I hate unnecessary confusion and ambiguity. I hate the 蔔 of 蘿蔔 being the same as the 卜 of 占卜, for example ...

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Mark Yong
Another reason to keep traditional script alive is for prestige. If it disappears, the Japanese will still have kanji and the whole world will be under the impression that it was never Chinese.

On that note, my support for Traditional characters is also because it has been the linguistic binding force for the Sinolectic East Asian nations (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) for more than a millennium.

(For my latest views on Literary Chinese bridging for Sinolectic nations, check out my forum entry at http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/9426-literary-chinese-bridging-the-east-asian-nations

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Strawberries513

well when I first started learning Chinese, the first few characters i learned were traditional, then I switched to simplified and have been there ever since. however, I usually dont have too much of a hard time reading traditional.

and obviously, simplified is easier to write, but if and when i write in traditional, it makes me feel smart :)

plus at all of the bookstores/librarys around where i live, all of the mandarin learning material is Simplified.

i think that you can learn any one you want, but everyone should be able to read both.

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melas

On that note, my support for Traditional characters is also because it has been the linguistic binding force for the Sinolectic East Asian nations (China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam) for more than a millennium.

the reason is obsolete, however. The use of Chinese characters has either been nearly abolished or reformed in all these countries. In fact, the shape of Chinese characters were also not always the same in ancient times.

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Mark Yong
the reason is obsolete, however. The use of Chinese characters has either been nearly abolished or reformed in all these countries

In Vietnam and Korea, yes, but I am not so sure about Japan. Based on what I know, Japanese high school leavers are expected to be familar with the 2,000 or so Kanji from the Joyo Kanji 常用漢字 list published by the Ministry of Education (please correct me if I am wrong). Also, most signs in airports written in Japanese employ Kanji.

I guess what I also saying is that I hope that someday, the use of 漢字 will, once again, be more widespread in the Sinolectic countries as in the old times. :)

In fact, the shape of Chinese characters were also not always the same in ancient times.

That is true (I presume you are referring to the bone and seal characters before the standardisation by 秦始王). But by the time the Chinese characters were adopted in Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the 8th-11th centuries, they had already achieved the 'standard' form of Traditional Characters that we see today (with the mild exception of the simplified characters used in Japan).

I've never gotten around to asking, but now I want to know how native Chinese people develop their short-hand writing? Apparently, there's many common simplifications, and those simplifications converge on "simplified" script.

If I am not mistaken, the development of short-hand writing is mostly naturally-developed by the writers themselves. After writing characters for a sufficiently-long period of time, one tends to develop a natural 'feel' for how to write in short-hand. I think the same idea applies to other language writings, too.

I personally feel that for Chinese educational purposes, it is best that schoolchildren begin by writing in Traditional Characters first, before being taught the short-hand / Simplified Characters later (after all, most of the Simplified Characters stem from the grass script 草書). This is to ensure that the proper foundation is inculcated. It is the same concept as with Western-educated schoolchildren learning to write the full forms of the Roman alphabet first, before they start writing in cursive after 4th or 5th Grade.

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bhchao
Even though people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and elsewhere may use traditional script, have you noticed their short-hand? Their short-hand writing is essentially simplified script. To many of them nevertheless, most simplified script is still alien to them. It is as if they use simplified script in their short-hand but they're not sufficiently used to a whole breadth of simplified vocabulary to be comfortable with it all the time.

My first years of learning Chinese were all by traditional script. To this day, I still have a hell of a time trying to read somebody's short-hand.

I have difficulty reading shorthand script. It can get messy to the point where you cannot tell whether the words in front of you are traditional or simplified script. I prefer those on the newspaper, signs, anything that comes in the form of bold printing.

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atitarev
n Vietnam and Korea, yes, but I am not so sure about Japan. Based on what I know, Japanese high school leavers are expected to be familar with the 2,000 or so Kanji from the Joyo Kanji 常用漢字 list published by the Ministry of Education (please correct me if I am wrong). Also, most signs in airports written in Japanese employ Kanji.

30% of characters that were also simplified in China in Japanese have been simplified similar to mainland China (国, 学, etc.) or a portion of characters were simplified in Japanese way (竜, 発, 桜 etc.). A lot of characters are not used at all, the words are just written in hiragana and it is now considered standard (ある, なる, きれい, おもしろい, etc.). Well, 2,000 characters in Japanese is not 4,000 - 5,000 required to read in Chinese.

Phonetic guides ("furigana") follow Japanese texts much longer and more often than Chinese pinyin. Lot of popular reading in Japanese have furigana (hiragana syllabary in small characters), including manga and anime. Even serious books have often pronunication written next to complex/rare characters.

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Oliver_CL

why you all learn traditional chinese? Simplified chinese is popular in mainland, and teachers not teach traditional chiese in schools in mainland. Simplified chinese is convenient for writting, it's rather efficient than traditional one.

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DrWatson

Oliver_CL,

Search the web forum and you'll find the answer to your question--lots of heated debate! Just because that is the way its done in China doesn't make it the right way. Some people read lots of materials from Taiwan (I do, at least), some people want to read classical literature, and some people just like them better. Anyway, let us not derail this thread any further. Search the web forum for more answers.

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imron

We don't all learn traditional characters. Many of us learn simplified.

You should also keep in mind however that some people here are Chinese from Hong Kong or Taiwan, where they do use and teach traditional characters, and so for them using traditional characters is the natural choice.

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rezaf

When the Taiwanese and the Hongkongese(is it also an -ese?) speak about how great the traditional characters are and that the simplified ones are ugly and meaningless, the joke is always on them because when I ask them to write a few difficult but common characters they always write them wrong(if they remember them!). People in mainland also have many problems writing hanzi(I am talking about the educated people) but their problems are much less than the Taiwanese. This shows that even the simplified characters aren't that simplified.

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skylee
When the Taiwanese and the Hongkongese(is it also an -ese?) speak about how great the traditional characters are and that the simplified ones are ugly and meaningless, the joke is always on them because when I ask them to write a few difficult but common characters they always write them wrong(if they remember them!).

I guess it must be great for you to be able to enjoy the joke.

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rezaf

No, I have always said that the traditional characters are more beautiful and I love them but it shows a serious problem and a need for simplification, some simplifications look like the traditional characters like 门 and 門. I think that these are very good but I don't like the simplified characters that don't look like the original ones.

edit: Skylee I didn't mean to offend when I said "joke" but yes as a laowai it is very enjoyable to show off my handwriting and the characters that I know.

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renzhe

Oh my, somebody opened up this can of worms again.... :mrgreen:

I don't know, as a total outsider, I don't see the huge fuss. I do find simplified characters easier to read and learn (simpler characters are easier to recognise, most of the time), but then again, that's what I've been learning all along. I've never, ever put any effort whatsoever into learning traditional characters, and I find that I can still read a lot of the traditional material.

This discussion always seems to end up being a political argument, with people pulling out obscure chracters to "make" their "point", when the fact of the matter is that all these variations (including kanji, Cantonese characters, countless variations, etc.) are here to stay, at least for our lifetimes, and adapting is not really all that difficult.

Seriously, to be able to read these classics people go on about, you need to have command of about 5,000 characters anyway, and at that point, the 300 or so simplified/traditional variations (which are not obvious from the outset) become the smallest of your worries.

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foodtarget

Yea, I agree that the "traditional vs simplified" debate serves a more political than practical purpose. If you're familiar with one set, it doesn't require that much effort to read the other.

That being said, I will go ahead and share my thoughts on simplification anyway ^_^ Since I was taught by mainlanders back in America and I am now studying on the mainland, I am obligated to use simplified characters. I feel that simplified characters are much easier to write and read (sometimes reading traditional, especially when the font is really small like in newspapers, on facebook, and some movies, is like looking at a bunch of solid squares!). So for all practical purposes, I think simplified clearly takes the prize. But I also agree that at times, simplified can be a little... unattractive. I just think traditional looks pretty, and when I'm bored in class, I flip through my dictionary and look up how to write characters in traditional. Sometimes I accidentally write traditional characters on tests and homework. My teacher is tirelessly working to break me of this habit :roll:

While I completely understand the rationale behind character simplification, the one thing that really bugs me about simplified characters in the PRC is that they seem to be simplified inconsistently and somewhat haphazardly. Some examples/further explanation:

1. replacing certain "radical clusters" in one character but leaving them in other characters, i.e. - 让,嚷,壤,攘。 发,鬈,鬃

2. some "hard" parts were just replaced with 又:欢,观,难,艰,双,对,戏

3. some characters seem to invite simplification and are commonly used but were not simplified, even though they have more strokes than other characters that were simplified. I've always thought that 道 should be simplified (it was during the short-lived Second Round Simplified Characters). I've also told some Chinese friends that if I were put in charge of simplifying characters, in every character where 扁 is used as a phonetic, I would replace it with 片。 They tell me I'm stupid, but I just think they're too comfortable with the status quo :mrgreen:

So yea, sorry I got a little off topic and strayed into the redundant territory of the pros and cons of simplified/traditional. But come on, how can you have a topic called "Traditional vs. Simplified characters" and NOT start debating their relative superiority.

In a last-minute attempt to stay on topic.... I use simplified, they e-z 2 rite.

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rezaf

liiv 道 aut aav it.

inglix riili niidz simplifikeixen.

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foodtarget
liiv 道 aut aav it.

"I'll simplify you my pretty, and your little 道 too!" :twisted:

inglix riili niidz simplifikeixen.

that's debatable...

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Hofmann

Hmm...perhaps the poll started should have said that you should only vote if you have experience using both Traditional and Simplified characters. Otherwise people would just vote for the only one they have ever used, which produces bad results.

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foodtarget
Hmm...perhaps the poll started should have said that you should only vote if you have experience using both Traditional and Simplified characters. Otherwise people would just vote for the only one they have ever used, which produces bad results.

Well no one can be completely impartial. At some point, everyone had to start out learning one or the other.

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