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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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skylee
Yes European languages and Chinese are all a language so they are both apples but you still can't compare a granny smith to a washington red.

Cute. Thank you. :D

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Quest

I don't know how many times this has to be repeated... intensive character learning was only the first 3 years of elementary school. After that, we just picked up characters passively. But even during that time, I was in the school's swimming team, chorus, and still getting 100's on exams, still had time to gather with friends afterschool and on weekends to play street games and video games. So I don't know what these people are talking about that Chinese characters take up too much of a kid's time. It never took more than half an hour each day for me to copy the 10 or so characters 10 times each, and they stuck ever since. It's as though, laowais knew better than us who actually went through this period as kids. It was this same laowai/elitist mentality that caused the unecessary simplification in the 50s; some smart屁屁 thought other people couldn't learn what they had learned themselves, i.e., traditional characters.

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atitarev
I don't know how many times this has to be repeated... intensive character learning was only the first 3 years of elementary school.

不用生气了。我们懒的老外们总是问这个问题。 :) 我觉得中国学生非常努力,他们只有学三年了就学好汉字。 可能在中国,台湾,香港没有人不喜欢汉字,对不对?

--

EDIT

我喜欢汉字,但是觉得很难。

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Hofmann

Agreeing with Quest. Intensive character learning is only in the first few years, maybe even first year if Chinese is a second language. After that it's pretty passive. (This is coming from an American...in Utah.) Simplification was definitely unnecessary. It was the education reforms that brought literacy to the masses.

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renzhe
maybe even first year if Chinese is a second language.

I couldn't learn enough Chinese characters in a year, and I don't know anyone who did.

For me, passive character learning starts when your knowledge of characters/vocabulary is sufficient for most daily tasks in this language. I estimate this to be somewhere upward of 2500 characters you can read without effort.

Even with 2500 characters, I struggle with middle-school books, but I can acknowledge that passive acquisition is feasible at this level. You probably COULD learn that many in a year, but that would be quite an achievement, and hardly normal.

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Lifulin

I just started taking a Chinese course in high school. The course goes over grammar, vocabulary and of course characters. I have acquired some Chinese news papers, and I've discovered that they are written in traditional characters. I am being taught simplified characters so some of the characters that I should have recognized... I didn't.

My problem is, I have enough difficulty learning the simplified characters, and I worry that things will be pretty difficult if I don't know the traditional forms. How common are traditional characters? How can I recognize traditional characters better?

I hope I'm conveying my question well enough, because I am rather concerned about this. Any help is appreciated, thanks. :)

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renzhe

Read this thread, especially the end.

In short, you should concentrate on simplified characters (since this is what you're learning). Once you get literate in those (can read a book), getting comfortable with traditional forms is relatively painless.

The best way to be fluent in both is to get really good at one first, and then drill the 500 different characters and read a lot.

How common are traditional characters?

They are used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and many overseas Chinese communities. So it's good to learn them eventually.

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atitarev

These jiantizi match Japanese simplifications, it's hardly a coincidence. Some others have visual similarities (e.g. 劳 労), although they don't match %

The character on the left is jiantizi and Japanese shinjitai (新字体), on the right is the traditional character:

The usage and meaning can be different, please don't be too picky :) Many others were simplified more radically in Japan than in China - they are written (more commonly) in Hiragana.

医 醫

欧 歐

殴 毆

画 畫

会 會

学 學

旧 舊

区 區

径 徑

茎 莖

献 獻

号 號

参 參

蚕 蠶

惨 慘

残 殘

辞 辭

写 寫

称 稱

触 觸

嘱 囑

随 隨

枢 樞

数 數

声 聲

窃 竊

浅 淺

践 踐

潜 潛

双 雙

属 屬

堕 墮

体 體

台 臺

担 擔

胆 膽

断 斷

虫 蟲

点 點

当 當

党 黨

独 獨

届 屆

麦 麥

蛮 蠻

並 竝

併 倂

宝 寶

万 萬

誉 譽

乱 亂

礼 禮

励 勵

恋 戀

炉 爐

楼 樓

湾 灣

狭 狹

国 國

湿 濕

寿 壽

叙 敍

将 將

条 條

状 狀

真 真

慎 慎

尽 盡

静 靜

禅 禪

壮 壯

争 爭

装 裝

滞 滯

昼 晝

秘 祕

翻 飜

与 與

来 來

There are funny cases in the Japanese simplification as well. For example 才 (sai) is used as Chinese 岁/歲 along with the traditional 歲.

Out of Japanese Joyo Kanji (常用漢字) list about 30% were simplified identically to Chinese, some have similarity to jiantizi, some are less radical, some are simply different from both.

Edited by atitarev

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trusmis

In order to save treads, I post this question here. I have learned traditional characters but not simplified. I am trying to get used to them now. And I am very confused.

I have found this:

經 becomes 经

巠 does not change

莖 becomes 茎

What I find COMPLETELY incongruent.

Also

聖 becomes 圣

圣 doesnt change.

What add more to my confusion.

I am just looking at the wrong resources or this is in fact the case?

Or maybe is my font problem and you all see the changes been congruent?

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atitarev

My post gets truncated when I post the simplified version of 巠! Must not be supported here but I can see it in Wenlin. It is a component, though.

圣 is already a simplified character.

巠 trad -

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muyongshi

From the above article:

Taiwanese parents pushed administrators to adopt the use of traditional script used in Taiwan and pre-communist China.

While this may be true, as has been pointed out before the simplified set has been around for longer than communism, it just wasn't official and unfortunately the wording of this article will turn many people off to the use of simplified simply because it appears to be "communist". At least that was the feeling I got when I read this line. No mention of the fact that it is used in many other Chinese communities. Also no mention of HK as using traditional which is a huge oversight on the part of the writer. Again another reason to make it sound like it is pitting "democratic taiwan" against "communist china".

Another reference:

Simplified characters were introduced in the 1950s by the Chinese communist regime to improve literacy rates among the country's mostly rural population.

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Meng Lelan

When I went to interview for a Chinese teaching job in a Houston suburb last year, they had their own Chinese exam ready for me: write and read aloud a paragraph in simplified and in traditional characters. I never had that happen to me before. Fortunately because I started with a Taiwan professor then went to the mainland I did okay, but I think they were using that kind of exam to sift out who could teach the script they were wanting, but didn't want to tell you what script they were wanting.

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atitarev

Muyongshi, I agree. There's a lot of comparisons like "simplified Chinese" = Communism, "traditional Chinese" = democracy.

The Epoch Times newspaper seems very anti-Chinese (government, simplified script, etc.) to me, a lot of the criticism may be justified but these constant references of how bad the simplified characters are simply annoying.

It is a pity if the result of the fight between those parents will be separate schools for simplified and traditional, as neither side is willing to give in or the simple majority will have the decisive voice. If they allow both, it's better.

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muyongshi
If they allow both, it's better.

Not only just better but it actually will only serve to further the agenda's of both sides who take a hard line view. The simplified and traditional sides argue the same thing: they need to adapt to us. By allowing both you actually increase an overall awareness and ability to use both sets, ie everyone wins.

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imron

Except the poor kids who have to learn both :mrgreen:

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muyongshi

Ahhhh.... I was conveniently ignoring them. Then again what they could do is use movie subtitles to teach the different sets. :roll:

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wushijiao

I think the article atitarev linked to shows the huge degree of cognitive dissonance that many people have on this issue. How could it be that the vast majority of people from Taiwan and HK see all the advantages to traditional, and usually sneer at simplified, or at best, see it as a practical necessity, while people from the Mainland, on the whole, defend and justify the use of simplified, regardless of all the arguments against its use? It seems to me like it's just another case of people defending the systems that they're currently used to.

Also no mention of HK as using traditional which is a huge oversight on the part of the writer. Again another reason to make it sound like it is pitting "democratic taiwan" against "communist china".

I'm not sure if it was an oversight. First, it seems that the contention is between Taiwanese parents and Mainland parents in that part of California. Second, it has been my experience that while HKers generally prefer traditional, HKers are also fairly practical, and most recognize the value in being able to read simplified, especially since they are part of the PRC. Therefore, I'd bet that although they'd prefer trad, they'd also be willing to compromise (generally speaking). In contrast, for better or for worse, many (pan-blue) Taiwanese people see themselves as inheritors of the great Chinese culture that was ruined by the Communists (or so they say), or other Taiwanese (the pan-greens) view themselves as a separate country. Either way, both mindsets would produce harder attitudes on the script issue, I'd imagine.

In any case, while I still think there are many powerful arguments for traditional, you can't deny that the PRC, with 1.3 billion people and the majority of the newspapers and printing presses in the Chinese world, uses simplified. For the non-native learner of Chinese, simplified has another benefit in that there are more good materials in simplified (and at cheaper prices) than there are in traditional, as far as I know. Therefore, any serious learner should eventually learn both, but it might be a good idea to start with simplified.

Edited by wushijiao

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muyongshi

Well I understand the debate side but in it's section where it is introducing the systems as a reporter giving the whole picture should be a necessity and that would mean talking about the systems and there usage in certain other parts of the world too.

I agree with you though that the debate isn't about a solution but it's "I'm right, you're wrong". Why? Just because I am!!

I'm not sure we will see a resolution to this debate in our lifetime.

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gato

There is even a big wikipedia page on this debate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debate_on_traditional_and_simplified_Chinese_characters

Chinese schools and media in Malaysia and Singapore generally use simplified characters, instead of traditional. You'd think that as overseas Chinese they'd favor traditional, but apparently they chose in favor of simplified as better communication with the PRC was of more practical value.

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