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techie

Simplified versus Traditional Mandarin

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techie

I love the Chinese language, however in learning it I must make choices that will make sense to me. Because I am in the field of Chinese Medicine, I have been told by friends and Professors that all the research which comes out of the Mainland is Simplified Chinese.

I was also told that in HongKong and Taiwan they use the traditional Chinese. So is it sufficient to know simplified or will I be missing out a lot in not learning the traditional?

Even when I read comments about the textbooks: "Integrated Chinese", it seems that the first textbook is simplified and latter it is both.

Does it make sense to learn both? Or as a chinese learner when one begins with the simplified characters, there might be a point in time when you move to the traditional?

Any comments would be appreciated.

Regards

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niubi

typically in chinese programs in the u.s., i don't know about europe or other non-chinese speaking places, students are required to learn to read both traditional and simplified, but have the choice to learn one or the other for writing purposes. foreigners studying in china learn simplified only typically, and i assume the opposite is true in hong kong and taiwan. i think it makes sense to learn reading of both. a good portion of the simplifications have a great deal of consistency so even if you learned only one form you could read the other by knowing the common ways in which characters were simplified. of course this would not work in all cases.

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techie

Niubi,

Thanks again. Your answer clarifies what I had suspected all along, which is that I will want to learn both! It also makes sense that after a certain point of learning the "simplified" and the "traditional" characters one should begin to make the transition easier than only knowing one type of character.

Thanks so much. Already I am learning lots just by participating in this forum.

谢谢你

[edit: I'll move this over to Reading and Writing, as characters don't really fall under Speaking and Listening and change the title a little to make it different from the other similar threads. Roddy]

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Tsunku

Like niubi said, you should learn to read both, but write only one. I think that's the most practical approach. I learned simplified first and recently I've been forced to learn how to read traditional. Although I prefer simplified, there is value to reading both forms. Writing both would most likely just be overkill though. If you can read both, you'll have access to the entire Chinese speaking world. Most native speakers can read both forms, but write only one.

I chose simplified as my primary style because it was a lot easier for me to remember. Some people think traditional is prettier, and they say that seeing the "story" more vividly in the character helps. For me, I like the phonetic component of simplified Chinese. Once I started to understand it, it made remembering characters a lot easier for me. I also found that, in the beginning, when your handwriting is still pretty shaky, simplified is easier to get right. Complicated traditional characters end up looking goofy and awkward when you're just starting out. I've noticed that my classmates who chose simplified, generally speaking, have better penmanship.

Those are just my reasons though. It won't neccesarily be the same for you. And I know there are people on this board who use traditional and can give you good reasons for their choice as well.

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skylee

Should learn to read both. And you have to learn them because the traditional and simplified versions of some words are so different that you can't easily recognize them. For example -

衛 vs 卫

葉 vs 叶

聽 vs 听

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techie

First of all, I would like to thank all of those who posted responses to my query.

This has been a difficult choice: "Simplified" versus "Traditional" characters.

I appreciate what Tsunku was saying about : "learn to read both, but write only one." This really finally makes sense to me!

Even before having read all your responses, I had already made up my mind of the importance to learn both. However hearing from you in this forum reinforces what I already had believed.

Thanks again for your help and responses. I certainly appreciate them.

Regards

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