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Shelley

Going from simplified to traditional

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Shelley

I have been toying with changing to traditional characters after talking to my neighbour (yes after 3 years, I have discovered my next door neighbour is from China) he has been giving me some pointers.

 

He said and I don't know how true it is, that young teenagers from mainland China are now learning traditional characters, this made think I might change, have been contemplating it for a while.

 

I have also just inherited the complete set of De Francis textbooks so learning material is not a problem, at least to start with.

 

Any advice on making the change, should I even do it?

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laurenth

Hello Shelley, as I told in the Taiwan trip thread, starting to make the transition (though shaky, incomplete and still a work in progress) has not been too difficult in my case and that's largely due to the quality of the De Francis series. I found that book exceedingly well designed. See also this thread. The corresponding audio files are readily available.

 

Last but not least, starting that transition has given a new impetus to my studies. Anyway, I believe knowing both sets of characters is a must for anybody interested in Chinese literacy.

 

Just start reading De Francis and make your own opinion. At the very least, it  will give you the opportunity to review the material you already know and do some extensive reading.

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Shelley

It was your Taiwan trip topic that prompted me to ask the question. I was going to ask in that topic but decided it needed a new topic :)

 

I will have a look at the link and explore the audio files. Thank you.

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889

I'm not sure why you describe it as "changing to traditional characters." If you're serious about Chinese of course you'll come to recognise both simplified and traditional forms, and which you use in writing will depend on the audience. Seems to me it's just a natural progression of your language studies.

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realmayo

Not true. You can be serious about Chinese, using the language to communicate fluently with Chinese people, consume Chinese media etc, and still be unsure on plenty of tranditional characters. Making the change to using traditional as your main input/output is a good way to learn traditional. At which point you then, as you say, will recognise both forms.

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realmayo

Shelley you should definitely give it a go, it's fun.

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Demonic_Duck

As your main reason for learning Chinese (correct me if I'm wrong) is for fun, interest, and general self-improvement, I say go for it, especially if your neighbor is encouraging it. Though young Chinese mainlanders learning traditional doesn't mean they would use it as a primary means of communication (and mainland usage of traditional characters often has errors, e.g. restaurants advertising 湯面 soup face).

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Wurstmann

I don't think they specifically learn traditional characters. But they can recognize most of them.

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Shelley

Thank you for all your comments, it all sounds very encouraging. I think I will start learning traditional.

 

I have been able to scan a text and decide almost instantly if it is traditional or simplified for a few years now, so I think "my eye is in" if you see what I mean.

 

I have also been a long time believer that traditional characters contain more info and are therefore actually easier to remember.

 

I can also study both together in a way, from what I understand quite a lot of the changes are to radicals so when you learn the two variants, you will actually have the key to lots of characters as it were.

 

I will see how I get on and report back soon :)

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onebir

There does seem to be selective use of traditional characters where they look cooler (or something?) among the Wechat set. Maybe this is the start of a trend...

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Demonic_Duck
There does seem to be selective use of traditional characters where they look cooler (or something?) among the Wechat set.

 

More like selective use of fullwidth characters among the chinese-forums.com set. :P

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onebir

Lol keyboard/IME problems. In fact I just met a few mainland Chinese on Wechat who use fanti for everything, because "they're cooler". I guess not having to actually write the extra strokes makes the choice essentially aesthetic...  

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Shelley

I have just finished lesson 1-5 of DeFrancis, I did 1-5 of the Beginning Chinese Reader, lesson 1 of Character text for Beginning Chinese and lesson 1 and 2 of Beginning Chinese.

 

Of the 22 characters so far 5 have been full form, the rest as I have already learnt them (simplified), if it continues at about this ratio it is going to be much easier than I expected.

 

I am actually enjoying it a lot. As I suspected there is more information in the characters and they make more sense and are actually easier to remember - so far :shock:

 

I think I will add an entry to my blog about the transition and how I get on, so if anyone is interested, I will add something in the next week or so.

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Mati1

Came to read about the best strategies to use when switching to traditional characters after having learned simplified, only found a general discussion whether to start learning or not :P

 

I started with the DeFrancis series myself 3 - 4 weeks ago. I am using the books while continuing with what I did all along (simplified characters, other graded readers, ...) hoping that I will just remember all the traditional forms once I reach the end of the series. Writing traditional characters by hand has a much lower priority for me than writing the simplified ones (unless I ever move to Taiwan or HK).

 

On one hand I think that traditional characters are more interesting and convey more of the original meaning, on the other hand I often ask myself why many "simplified" characters weren't simplified (much more) to speed up the writing process. :shock:

I would love if more (all?) characters had a stronger (visible) relationship to (the original ...) ancient pictograms / ideograms or whatever the correct technical term is called.

 

Btw. I checked the available audio files for every book of the DeFrancis series and I can not stand the background noises. Therefore I will not use this audio material at all, which is very unfortunate given the abundance of the material. What are your thoughts on the quality?

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Shelley
hoping that I will just remember all the traditional forms once I reach the end of the series. Writing traditional characters by hand has a much lower priority for me than writing the simplified ones (unless I ever move to Taiwan or HK).

 

I think that one of the best ways to remember characters is to write them. I use Hanzi grids and write out all the characters of each lesson, I also use Pleco flashcards and use the handwriting input to help remember them. Even if you don't plan on using them, writing is in my opinion the best way to learn characters.

 

Just hoping that you will remember them is probably not going to work :) You need to put something in to get something out.

 

This topic was about whether or not to change and maybe some hints and tips too.

 

I agree that there is more information in traditional characters, this one of main reasons I considered changing.

 

I have been enjoying it so far and it is proving to be very interesting .

 

Not sure what you mean by background noises, my audio is clean and very listenable.

 

 

 

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