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iekkim

What should I learn first?

Is it easier to learn simplified Chinese First or Traditional Chinese first?  

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Chinese Characters is easier to learn first, taking into consideration learning the other kind later?

    • Simplified Chinese Characters first, Traditional Chinese Characters second.
      6
    • Traditional Chinese Characters first, Simplified Chinese Characters second.
      3
    • No difference
      2


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iekkim

Hi all,

 

Is it easier to transition from learning Simplified Chinese to Traditional Chinese or from Traditional Chinese then to Simplified Chinese?

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somethingfunny

Please provide some more information about yourself and what you are doing.

 

In some situations simplified are more appropriate, and in others, traditional.  It's not always a straightforward one-or-the-other choice.

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dwq

There are much more many-to-one mappings from Traditional Chinese characters to Simplified Chinese characters (e.g. 後、后 -> 后) than the other way round, so if you learn Traditional first you won't get confused about how to do the conversion, 99% of the time.  The other way round, you'd need to worry about whether the author intended to write 后宮 or 後宮 .

 

OTOH, other factors like the learning environment around you, the availability of learning materials to you, etc. may favour Simplified Chinese; e.g. if you are studying in Beijing and everyone around you only uses Simplified.  In that case, if you find the addition effort to obtaining Traditional materials becomes a deterrent to learning Chinese, it may be better to learn Simplified Chinese first and worry about Traditional later than to not learn at all.

 

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grawrt

At my university beginner taught chinese courses were taught using traditional characters. At intermediate level we had courses in simplified chinese. It was quite difficult and I would make up my own simplified character that was  half traditional half simplified. It was a mess. I had to relearn everything to get things right again and now I forgot pretty much all the traditional characters.

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Geiko

In my opinion, there is no significant difference in choosing one way or the other. I went from Simplified to Traditional, and it took me two or three months to be comfortable with reading books in Traditional. My advice is that you start with the one you're going to use more, and when you reach an intermediate level, study the characters that are totally different from the other set.

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Shelley

As others have said its not so straight cut. Once you have learnt one form its relatively easy to transition to the other and doesn't really matter which way you go.

 

I have recently added traditional to my learning after many many years of learning simplified. it is proving to be easier than I thought, but as I am learning for pleasure and will never visit either Taiwan or the mainland I have decided not spend too much time trying to remember how to write traditional but to be able to recognise and understand them and concentrate on remembering how to write simplified.

 

I believe that there is more information in traditional forms and this helps with understanding meaning and remembering the character. I think that the etymology of characters is the best way to remember characters so as traditional tend to have more information there is more to remember.

 

One question I have wondered about and can't find the answer - what is the number of characters that have been simplified, both modern and ancient simplifications. I have a little booklet that is a conversion table but it doesn't tell me how many.

 

P.S. i think you should add another voting choice - No difference. (or something similar)

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dwq
3 hours ago, lips said:

後宮

I'm not sure if it is actually a term that is used, but conceivably the residence of the empress could be called 后宮, which would be part of the emperor's 後宮.

I know it is not the best example :mrgreen:

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roddy

To quote myself

Quote

You’ll need to decide whether to study simplified or traditional characters. The usual choice will be simplified but if you have a good textbook which uses traditional, plan to spend lots of time in Taiwan, or just think they look better, learning traditional is fine. Once you’ve learnt one set, the other is well within reach.

 

You've said elsewhere you're studying at a Confucius Institute - if you don't have any preference yourself, just use what they use. If you need to make a change later it's not that difficult. 

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mlescano

Whatever is more available to you and makes more sense for your needs.

Don't fret too much over it. I spent years agonizing over this subject, because Traditional is way prettier and better structured, but I  finally took the practical route... Materials in Simplified are 100x more easily available in my city, and most 华人 in my city are from the Mainland. Once I made that decision I learned to read and write in just a few months. I can guess a lot when reading Traditional, however, thanks to having previously learned the Japanese kanji.

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iekkim

Thank you, everyone!

 

I'm actually debating between studying in Shanghai or Taiwan and I heard that Taiwan uses traditional Chinese and Mainland uses simplified. I may have to deal with both Taiwanese and Mainlanders for work though. But I guess, I may have to deal with Maninlanders more than Taiwanese.... Hmmm. 

 

I've just finished Basic Chinese 1 in my local Confucius Institute and all I know are pinyin with my awful pronunciations. I can't tell the difference between traditional and simplified, relying only on my sister to pinpoint to me the kind of Chinese characters I'm looking at.

 

I'm just hoping that I can continue to practice Chinese, after studying, back home.

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NinKenDo

If you know you'll learn both then I suggest starting with traditional. I don't have time now, but there is some scholarship on the matter available.

 

Otherwise just learn whichever one is important to your other goals. My girlfriend can't write Trad characters at all, but can read them without a second thought.

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