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realmayo

Very annoying simplification

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realmayo

I have no problem with Chinese people simplifying their written language in order to increase literacy among native speakers or whatever, it's their language, and there's no reason they should be remotely bothered about poor little me trying to remember how to write Chinese characters, nor should we expect the changes to all be perfect.

 

But I can still vent (because topics are free...): it annoys poor little me that 彻 exists as the simplified 徹 when another character 撤 is not simplified (and nor are 澈 and 辙).

 

There must be some more super-annoying (for the non-native speaker) simplifications out there -- any suggestions? -- but this one hurts me every single time.

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skylee

Just don't use the simplified script.

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Kanjiology

I used to be and still kind of am an advocate for traditional characters, but after living in Mainland China you're kind of forced to use simplified characters in your everyday life. I'm not sure what kind of reactions I would get if I filled out a form, replied text messages, or turned in homework in traditional Chinese... Maybe I should try it out as an experiment, haha. 

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MPhillips

Wonder what the logic behind 叶 for 葉 is? Also I noticed recently that 晋 doesn't save any strokes over 晉 , so why bother to change it?

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Demonic_Duck
I used to be and still kind of am an advocate for traditional characters, but after living in Mainland China you're kind of forced to use simplified characters in your everyday life. I'm not sure what kind of reactions I would get if I filled out a form, replied text messages, or turned in homework in traditional Chinese... Maybe I should try it out as an experiment, haha.

My guesses...

 

Filling out a form: asked to re-fill it in in simplified

Replied to text-messages: no-one would care, except for possibly finding you eccentric

Turned in homework: your teacher might question it, but if s/he was proficient enough, s/he'd probably be equally happy to mark it.

 

Basically, it wouldn't be a big deal except for "official" purposes. I have a friend (mainland Chinese) who posts 80% of his 微信 stuff in traditional because he prefers it aesthetically, no-one bats an eyelid.

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Kenny同志

I always sign with the traditional script. It has been fine except one time when I was asked to resign using Simplified Chinese at 工商銀行.

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Shelley

I asked the same question about other characters, why does the simplified version not have any less strokes.

 

My Chinese teacher's reply was that the new character was easier to write, the strokes flowed better and was more natural to write.

 

亚 flows better than the full form. I enlarged it so it is clearer. It does seem less clumsy.

 

 

I am not sure if this applies to all simplifications of this nature but it makes sense for some of the ones i have seen.

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Kenny同志

In my opinion, increasing literacy among Chinese people was merely a pretext used by the then government to ultimately wipe out Chinese characters. Common sense is that things with a logical pattern are much easier to remember than some random symbols, so by simplifying the traditional characters in a reckless way, instead of helping increase literacy, the government actually damaged the logical system of the language and made it harder to learn.

That simplification helps increase literacy is purely a myth. It does not, education does, and so does a logical system of the language.

麻油,看到下面這個對照表或許你會更痛苦。 :mrgreen:
 

觀【观】  顴【顴】
僅【仅】  謹【谨】
鄧【邓】  燈【灯】
雞【鸡】  蹊【蹊】
鳳【凤】  鳥【鸟】
戲【戏】

漢【汉】

 

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renzhe

What is a "logical system of a language"?

I don't think that there is such a thing, just conventions.

And if there is a more logical writing system, surely it is either pinyin or zhuyin. :)

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OneEye

Well, the traditional character set certainly makes the etymological connections between characters more clear. For simplified, you have to explain it in terms of abbreviations of the traditional characters in order to be accurate at all. For instance, why does 称 have an 尔 in it? Because the cursive form of 爯 resembled 尔. It's etymologically unrelated to the 尔 in 你, or to the 尔 in 尔 (爾) for that matter. Its resemblance to 尔 is a historical accident caused by the conventions of cursive and the ambitions of some overzealous, ill-informed government officials and scholars.

 

Interestingly enough, 爾 was simplified to 尔 as a result of the same conventions in cursive writing that led to 爯 being written the same way.

 

I'm actually not against simplification at all, but I'm not a fan of the mess the PRC made out of it. It could have been done in a more reasonable way, but as Kenny said, their goal was to eradicate characters, so when they abandoned that project halfway through, they were stuck with a halfway destroyed set of characters.

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renzhe

Well, the traditional character set certainly makes the etymological connections between characters more clear.

That is true, but how many non-scholars are affected by this? Certainly not the schoolchildren learning to read; 爯 is not exactly a common character. It is doubtful that examples like this help when teaching literacy to 6 year-olds, even if they might have seemed more logical back when 爯 was really common.

As for eradicating characters, that's a long discussion, possibly for another thread. There was a lot of support for latinisation, or some form of a phonetic alphabet in the first half of the 20th century. Not just from the CCP, but also from writers, missionaries, linguists, etc. which is evidenced by the explosion of the number of phonetic writing systems in that period.

Then, in what John DeFrancis calls "Mao's great leap backward", the CCP decided against a phonetic alphabet and for a simplified set of characters. The decision is attributed to Mao personally, but it's hard to know exactly what took place.

I agree that some of the simplifications are rather haphazard and even counter-productive, but they've been around for 60 years, and it's unlikely that simplification will be reverted, or that a new simplification will be devised, so for all intents and purposes, simplifications are here to stay and it's easiest to just deal with them when you need to, IMHO.

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OneEye

I guess it wasn't obvious in that post that by 爯 I was referring to the component on the right side of 稱, not the standalone character. That probably wasn't the best example anyway. How about all the unrelated components that got simplified to 又? You can see a few in Kenny's post above.

 

Anyway, I'm not talking about the academic study of etymology, I'm talking about the person who has to learn characters to become literate (whether native child or non-native language learner). Etymology helps a lot with learning characters because it allows you to understand them as a coherent system. Simplified characters have obscured the etymology in many cases, making things much more complicated. There's irony for you.

 

At any rate, I agree that they're probably here to stay. That doesn't mean I have to like them. :)

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renzhe

My point was that if you don't know 爯, then seeing it as a component is not very helpful for learning the character 稱. At the same time, I agree with you that liberal sprinkling of 又 everywhere hardly made anything easier.

And while it's true that simplifications obscured etymology in many cases, it is also true that they replaced some phonetic components which made sense a thousand years ago with phonetic components which make sense today, thus making it easier.

Overall, I feel that it was a mixed bag. The characters were simplified at a time when learning characters meant endless repetitive writing over and over again, so they focused on reducing the stroke count, even when the simplification made little sense etymologically. Today, characters are often learned differently, and this advantage is lost, leaving a mixed bag of characters that are sometimes easier/make more sense in their traditional form, and sometimes in their simplified form.

For me personally, it boils down to three things: 1) I want to read mainland materials, 2) I want to read HK/Taiwan materials, and 3) learning to read both is not really difficult.

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Hofmann

It doesn't take a scholar to see how awkward it is.

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renzhe

Back on topic:

What I find annoying is characters which are simplified, but the original character is still retained for a particular meaning, thus turning one complex character into two. This usually occurs with names, and is understandable, but is still hardly simpler.

The canonical example is 於/于, but readers of 水浒传 will also remember 同/仝.

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Hofmann

I don't remember where it was, but once I read the phrase "听而笑" in a Simplified text in a Chinese class. I wondered, who would be able to read that? Ask anyone else in the room (besides the prof) and they would have said "tīng".

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陳德聰

As far as I know, knowing Simplified and a few loose "rules" about what gets simplified to what has made it more or less no problem in reading Traditional for most of my Mainland peers. I am interested in more examples like those provided by Kenny though, 'cause if you don't know Traditional at all in the first place, you wouldn't even notice!

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Kenny同志
And if there is a more logical writing system, surely it is either pinyin or zhuyin.

 

No, I cannot agree.

 

If tongue twisters, classical Chinese, and Dr Zhao's famous 施氏食獅史 can be written in pinyin or zhuyin without putting the reader at a loss, that might say something. But I am afriad that even modern Chinese written in pinyin or zhuyin can often cause problems.

 

Edit:

An interesting tongue twister:

劉奶奶找牛奶奶買榴蓮牛奶,牛奶奶給劉奶奶拿榴蓮牛奶,劉奶奶說牛奶奶的榴蓮牛奶不如柳奶奶的榴蓮牛奶,牛奶奶說柳奶奶的榴蓮牛奶會流奶,柳奶奶聽見了大罵牛奶奶你的榴蓮牛奶才會流奶。柳奶奶和牛奶奶潑榴蓮牛奶嚇壞了劉奶奶。

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realmayo

Another annoying one for me actually is 导 because I get no pronunciation help from either of its components, whereas the traditional 導 is obviously far more helpful. Characters like 听 I'm not so fussed about, probably because they're super-common/high-frequency.

Again, I'm coming at it from an irritating-to-remember point of view. For the more general points raised above, I'd understood that the main intent of 20th century simplification was to get farmers literate to 800 characters, and if that meant upsetting university graduates carrying 5,000+ characters in their heads, well it was deemed a price worth paying.

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skylee

Good.

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