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Ada Yang

Simplified vs Traditional Chinese

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Ada Yang

Hi friends, I am busy running a research project on the topic relates to the simplified and traditional Chinese. I would like to ask you to do me a favour in putting your personal thoughts on this issue. For statistic purpose, if you could please specify your age, nationality and education level but please feel comfortable in doing so. Thank you very much.

We all know that the simplified Chinese has been using for the past decades in order to promote the literacy rates in China. However the most and original ancient literatures are recorded in Traditional form of scripts.

My question is that which form of writing is better in the heritage and preseving the Chinese culture, literatures, arts...etc according to you? And would you think the simplified Chinese is better for learners in terms of the Chinese writing and reading? why? What's the pro's and con's of both forms of writing system? Thank you for your patient Your feedbacks are appreciated!!:wink:

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iMm0rTaLBoi

To introduce myself, I am 14 years old, a Chinese American and a freshman at high school. You might not consider me very educated but anyhow I'm going to respond to your question. First of all, the Chinese have been using traditional characters for thousands of years. For the PRC to simplify such characters is a destruction to Chinese culture. In order to preserve heritage and preserving Chinese culture, traditional characters should be used. However, simplifying characters for better learning is a good idea too. But traditional chinese should also be encouraged by the mainland to preserve heritage of the Chinese people.

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Homeward

Age: 18

Nationality: British-Chinese

Education level: A-Levels (7th year Secondary Education)

1) Which form of writing is better in the heritage and preserving the Chinese culture, literatures, arts, etc according to you?

It will have to be the Traditional Chinese, as its complex nature signifies the complexity of the Chinese culture of the past and present. The writing, the style in which it was written in, and the position of the strokes, it’s like art.

2)Would you think the simplified Chinese is better for learners in terms of the Chinese writing and reading? Why?

In some ways, I presume Simplified Chinese, is easier for those learning the Chinese language, however I think, it's better to learn the real deal instead of learning the short-cut, as it doesn't help you when you're trying to translate an Ancient Chinese script or when you're venturing off to another Chinese city or state that uses Traditional Chinese as their primary language.

3)What are the pros and cons?

PRO - Simplified Chinese

  • It's ... simplified
  • Easier to write

PRO - Traditional Chinese

  • It's the real-deal
  • It represents all things Chinese

CON - Simplified Chinese

  • It's a shortcut
  • It takes away the power and the traditional of the chinese language pass down, from one generation to the next

CON - Traditional Chinese

  • Difficult to to master
  • Looks and is complex

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daydreamer

Age: 19

Nationality: Chinese

Education level: 1st year, university

1) Which form of writing is better in the heritage and preserving the Chinese culture, literatures, arts, etc according to you?

It can be the Traditional Chinese, But on the other hand, though I cannot write most of Traditional charecters , I can read them. Most Chinese do. If we keep this, that won't be a difficulty to keep the heritage and Chinese culture. I don't know where we learn the traditional ones, but naturally we do. Maybe bacause lots of TV plays are shown with subtitles by Traditional Chinese.

2)Would you think the simplified Chinese is better for learners in terms of the Chinese writing and reading? Why?

Yes, much, much easier. I'm Chinese but I also think Traditional Chinese is so difficult to write. and when I read, they make me feel tired easily. Well, only for me. I guess simplified Chinese make people from Taiwan tired easily...

3)What are the pros and cons?

PRO - Simplified Chinese

Easier to write and read; easier for learners

PRO - Traditional Chinese

Better for the heritage and preserving the Chinese culture; can find the root of Chinese charecter more easily

CON - Simplified Chinese

I agree with Homeward, if younger generation don't learn them

<>

CON - Traditional Chinese

more difficult to learn, write and read.

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Gary Soup

I think the first question is a loaded one:

If you want to read what Chairman Mao wrote, you only need to know jiantizi; if you want to read what Chairman Mao read, you need to know fantizi.

I wouldn't make a judgment on the pros or cons of either until I've seen a careful analysis of what impact the simplification of the written language has had on overall literacy.

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gato
However the most and original ancient literatures are recorded in Traditional form of scripts. My question is that which form of writing is better in the heritage and preseving the Chinese culture, literatures, arts...etc according to you?

It's easy to learn to read the other form once you know one of two.

Plus, only a subset of the most commonly used characters have been simplified -- 2,235 characters according to the count below. Many more obscure characters used in ancient texts have not been simplified.

http://chineseculture.about.com/library/symbol/blccbasics.htm

The simplified is the standard writing form employed in the mainland of China and the traditional form is mainly used in Taiwan and Hong Kong. There are total 2,235 simplified characters contained in the 'Simplified Character Table' published in 1964 by the Chinese government, so the majority of the Chinese characters are the same in the two forms, though the count of commonly-used Chinese characters is only about 3,500.

There are over 80,000 Chinese characters, but most of them are seldom used today. For basic reading and writing of modern Chinese, you only need a few thousands. Here are the coverage rates of the most frequently used Chinese characters:

Most frequently used 1,000 characters: ~90% (Coverage rate)

Most frequently used 2,500 characters: 98.0% (Coverage rate)

Most frequently used 3,500 characters: 99.5% (Coverage rate)

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Thepuppetmaster

Sorry, I'm not too familiar with the Chinese letters (I can read it though), but I do have some questions. In terms of the traditional characters you are talking about, how traditional is the "traditional" letter? Why the title?

Is the "traditional" character the same one that were used in the Qing Dynasty? Is Qing Dynasty's character the same as Ming? Song? Tang's? If you check the calligraphy models of the letters of ancient China(Han), its very different than the so called traditonal letter; so my question is, if Chinese characters are consistently changing throughout time, why is it labeled traditional when its different than the characters in imperial time? What period/era did the "traditional" character take its form?

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Thepuppetmaster

You can see from a lot of the Chinese calligraphy paintings, Oracle script from the Shang dynasty and the Bronzeware Script of Zhou dynasty are very different than the modern writing. Even the first standardized "Seal script" 篆書[篆书] introudced by Qin Shi Huang are different than the traditional one, I doubt many people can read it, but you can still see it in many calligraphy/paintings, used in artistic seal. I did find out that traditional letter is quite similar to the Running Style 行書[行书], but I still don't know how old it is. I checked the Wikipedia, it says there are also many other scripts that are still used today for print, "Clerk Script" or 隸書[隶书], "Regular Script" or 楷書[楷书], "Song Style" or 宋體, "Wei Monumental" or 魏碑, ""Draft Script" or 草書 . Okay, I'm confused? Help?:wall

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cookiemonster

Age: 21

Nationality: Taiwanese

Education Level: 3rd year of university

As have been mentioned above, traditional Chinese preserves beauty and art within the structure of characters. Some people might say, “Simplified Chinese is easier for people to learn.” But, according to some of my foreign friends, “Simplified Chinese is still difficult to learn.” Traditional Chinese is beautiful but difficult; simplified Chinese is not beautiful and it’s difficult. So, I think traditional Chinese is better. At least, traditional Chinese preserves beauty and culture.

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Outofin

I can read both traditional and simplified Chinese. I think traditional Chinese characters are no doubt better than the simplified, in term of aesthetics. But the simplified didn't come from nowhere. I think it came from 草书, meaning even ancients also sort of used a simplified version of Chinese, because, everyone knows that, writing traditional Chinese is not a easy job. IMO, the thing changed since we moved to the digital life. Now we rarely write by hand. We type. Typing traditional Chinese is as easy as typing simplified Chinese. When everything got digitalized, I will pro the traditional Chinese. But not now.

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Ncao

I think simplify writing is good for normal purposes,because it's easier.Traditional is good for artistic stuff like calligraphy.

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yzhu

Definitely simplified form is easier to lean and to use. You can still read traditional form if you have learned the simplified form. I don't think the traditional form has advantages in heritage than the simplified form.

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dayo

you know , i always find it ironic that historically ( that is pre May 4th, 1919 ) traditional characters in 楷 書 (kaishu) style was good enough for common purposes and 草書 (caoshu) was one of the many calligraphy styles popular for its artistic (ie abstract) quality.

now many simplified characters are forms of characters common in 草書 but written in 楷 書. These are also the most objectionable simplifications ( 廣 ->广).

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TCcookie

Maybe it's because I started out learning simplified characters--and not really know what I was doing at the time--but, for practical purposes, I actually prefer the aesthetics of the reformed characters for most "practical" applications. They fit on computer monitors and in print much more comfortably than traditional, I think, and they look more "crisp and clean." Of course, when you get to a certain level of reading where you're relying a lot more on context and "shape," this probably matters a lot less. Someone in one of my classes who had formally learned reformed characters and then took a class that required a lot of reading in traditional said that when he went back to reading reformed, the characters looked "broken." I can see that.

I don't think either is necessarily superior because when you get to the point where you're actually using them for practical purposes, the perceived advantages of either set compared to the other become negligible.

Just my thoughts.

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Harpoon

the point is, if two people are writing down the same paragraph, one using simplified and one using traditional, who will finish it first?

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