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Olle Linge

Learning simplified characters after tradiitonal

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Olle Linge

I know around 4000 traditional characters, but circumstances require me to learn simplified characters.If anyone has any suggestions or help to offer, I would greatly appreciate that. Perhaps you've done the same transition and have some valuable experiences to share? Perhaps you know someone else who has? Please help!

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imron

See this post (and the ones that follow), which describe the situation from the other way round.

The biggest takeaway is that the vast majority of the characters remain the same or have trivial/consistent simplfications. All up, you're probably only looking at around 500 characters that are significantly different. Luckily, Renzhe has already put together a bunch of tab separated files containing the traditional versions of these characters and their simplified variants.

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Olle Linge

Okay, excellent, thanks both of you! I think it won't be a big problem. The systematic changes will be easy and in other cases it's merely a question of remembering which characters have merged into which new character. It would be a lot more painful to go the other way around and have to learn new meaning of characters that were previously the same.

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Glenn

Wow, jbradfor, nice post! I especially liked "Weird changes I don't understand". That cracked me up!

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imron
It would be a lot more painful to go the other way around
Not really :D

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skylee

What I did was read a long novel printed in simplified Chinese (雍正王朝) (because it was so much cheaper). I got bad headaches reading the first part. After that, simplfied characters made no difference at all.

Before that I had read a few simplified Chinese textbooks (like 菊花與劍) back in university and the headaches had made it so difficult to finish them.

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gato
the headaches had made it so difficult to finish them.

Does aspirin help?

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skylee

I have no idea as I don't suffer headaches from reading simplified characters any more.

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Olle Linge

I think just reading would be the easiest way if I Just wanted to learn the simplified characters in general. I mean, most Taiwanese people I know say "well, we had some Mainland textbooks at university, the first one was a pain, but then it was not a problem any more."

However, the reason I need the simplified characters is that I'm going to take a course here which requires me to write simplified characters (and it's far from a beginners' course, too). That means I need to be sure that I haven't missed too much. My plan is to go through the lists referred to earlier in this thread (thanks again), and combine that with reading and writing. I think I should be able to learn most of what I need in a month or so. It might still feel awkward, but I hope it will be enough. I don't plan to switch to simplified characters myself, even though I plan on maintaining both in the future.

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roddy

If that's the case, some kind of flashcard work - see traditional, write simplified - might actually be advisable?

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Olle Linge

I'm going through a deck of 500+ flashcards, about halfway through by now. Most of them I only need to see once and that's it, some are trickier. There is one that leaves me completely baffled, though. How on earth did 憑 end up like 凭? It's like... not very simple at all, does not resemble the traditional character at all, does not follow any rule and just makes no sense? Or is it an old version of the same character? I just don't see how you can look at one and come up with the other as a simplification.

Gato: I get a 404 on your link.

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renzhe

I think that 凭 is a previously existing character with similar meaning that was taken to replace the more complicated 憑. In any case, it's in Kangxi. Perhaps it's just a phonetic loan, not sure.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/凭

EDIT: Remember that one of the main goals of the simplification process was reducing the number of strokes, in order to make writing easier. And while the structure of 凭 is not simpler, it does have far fewer strokes.

BTW, googling 简化字总表 will list dozens of links to the original document. Gato's links does seem to be b0rked at the moment, but there are many others. That's what I used to generate the flashcard lists.

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bande

While I've gone the other direction from simplified to traditional, I've found that just reading in context teaches you the characters you should know. So one additional recommendation would be to find a book you've already read in fanti, and read the book in its jianti equivalent.

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Lu

What worked for me, arriving in Beijing after two years of learning traditional, was to go over the list of simplified radicals and then just read. I had to look up a few mystifying characters that turned out to be simplifications of familiar ones (虽,这), but after a few weeks I was fine.

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Kobo-Daishi

Dear all,

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According to these Google Book scans of "Chinese Characters: Their Origin, Etymology, History, Classification and Signification" by Léon Wieger, 凭 is the original character. It was already in the Shuowen Jiezi, which predates the Kangxi Zidian by about 1600 years.

The character 憑 came to be used for 凭 through 假借 (false borrowing), where a character is used in a sense which is not its own either by error or by convention to designate an object which has its name in the spoken language, but which has no special character.

The scribes semi-repaired the mistake, which gave birth to the new character 凴.

Kobo-Daishi, PLLA.

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skylee

These were the simplified characters that I found most daunting - 叶 / 卫 / 听

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Olle Linge

Update for those who were kind enough to help in this thread: I went through all the characters that aren't obvious repetitions of a certain rule and added them to a deck in Anki. There are roughly 500 such characters. It took me two weeks to learn them and after that I was pretty much okay. I don't read simplified characters very fast even if it's been almost nine months, but that's mostly because I don't read that much in simplified characters anyway. So, the method that worked flawlessly for me was:

1) Check the rules

2) Note and learn exceptions

3) Use SRS to remember them

4) Read

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jbradfor

Would you be willing to post your anki deck, so others can learn too?

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