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mandarin123

Simplified VS Traditional Characters

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mandarin123

This is not intend to start a fight for this heated subject. I just wonder as a Chinese language learner (native or non-native), i have following questions for your people.

1. how long have you been learning Chinese language?

2. Which form of Chinese character did you learn first(simplified or traditional)? (or both)

3. When did you start to learn 2nd form of characters?

4. how long does it take for you to learn second form of characters?

(that means you can understand what you read more or less in both forms of Chinese characters.)

5. in your opinion, which transition would be easier?

(traditional ==> simplified) or (simplified ==> traditional) or both

let's start with a poll. i will go first

1. 20+ year,

2. simplified

3. after 10 years

4. 1 month (well, adoption of traditional character was quiet nature for me, i just picked it up by studying "simplified and traditional characters comparison chart" for few hours)

5. I think learning simplified character first will be easier, but adoption of traditional character will be harder. and vice versa.

i think adoption of 2nd form of character will be much harder for non-native Chinese learners. What do you think?

more info:

http://www.worldjournal.com/weekly92_disp.php?nt_seq_id=1232026

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nipponman

1. 2 1/2 years

2. Traditional

3. Never, still haven't learned it.(don't plan on it either)

4.(Unfortunately) I can read simplified. Its not that hard really to go back and forth.

5. Traditional to simplified. Definitely. I haven't even learned simplified and I can read it.

i think adoption of 2nd form of character will be much harder for non-native Chinese learners. What do you think?

I disagree, unless you're lazy, or learned simplified first, the transition between the systems is easy. Take it from me.

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xiaocai

I feel it depends on the standard of "learning characters". I can read traditional chinese and never really spent time to "learn" it. But if I have to write something in traditional, in hand, not typing, I must check dictionary frequently...

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Song You Shen

1. Just about a year.

2. Both, but I have a better handle on simplified.

3. I plan on continue studying simplified, while having suplemental traditional training.

4. By recognition, I can read traditional after only a few glances, but writing takes a lot longer.

5. I personally feel simplified to traditional is easier. Start with less strokes first, then when you're comfortable with more strokes and harder words, go to traditional.

Nippoman, there's a few reasons why you can read simplified, even if you haven't studied it. There are actually only a few words that are can be distinguished as traditional vs simplified (comparable to the amount of words you learn). The majority of words in Chinese are still the same character, whether or not they are in traditional or simplified. Also, it's easy to read because you are basing things off of association, and not having to remember the exact stroke order between the two.

i think adoption of 2nd form of character will be much harder for non-native Chinese learners. What do you think?

Not at all. I agree with Nippoman, unless you're lazy, it isn't too difficult to learn the two. It's also about emersion... if you had a non-native chinese learner in a native chinese environment, i'm sure they'd learn Chinese just as fast as a native Chinese learner.

Youshen

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nipponman
Nippoman, there's a few reasons why you can read simplified, even if you haven't studied it. There are actually only a few words that are can be distinguished as traditional vs simplified (comparable to the amount of words you learn). The majority of words in Chinese are still the same character, whether or not they are in traditional or simplified. Also, it's easy to read because you are basing things off of association, and not having to remember the exact stroke order between the two.

Yeah I think you're right. The thing is I promised myself I wouldn't learn simplified. I just can't stand them that much. The thing is my reading speed is slower than with traditional. I was thinking of getting that dictionary that elina uses when she explains things all the time, but it is all simplified. :-? I never learned stroke order in the beginning actually. I learned the basic rule for stroke order about 6 years ago in Japanese, and I used them ever since. I think they would be different in chinese though because some of the characters are different.

Nipponman

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笨笨德

Ive been living in taiwan for a year now, so I have only learned traditional chars, and I can pretty much read simplified characters too, as alot of the simplification follow certain rules, not all of it of course.

I think there are only just over 2000 characters that are simplifed anyway, so you are going to be learning traditional characters at some stage anyway.

Deciding on which to learn initially depends of whom you wish to communicate with, mainland chinese, learn simplified, everywhere else, learn traditional. In my opinion traditional is much more aesthetic and contains more meaning, which makes it easier for me to learn. Sure it takes longer to write but, we use computers more and more to write, so its not really as important as before. Besides its fairly trival to swap between the two using computers now anyway...

It probably more important, just to choose one and get on with learning it, a few years down the line you will be like everyone else and be able to at least read both.

Just my 2 penny's worth.

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Song You Shen

yeah, i know what you mean. My traditional reading is much slower than my simplified... I think it is because there is an additional step of having to translate the simplified into traditional (or vise versa). Yeah, I imagine the stroke sequences and are much different in Chinese... Chinese are very strict when it comes to strokes and stroke order (if I wrote a word in the incorrect stroke order, my teacher wouldn't give me credit!). It also makes the word look different... somewhat.

Youshen

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TCcookie

1. Four years (ugh, that long?), very off and on

2. Started with both, but now I pretty much concentrate on simplified as far as conscious learning

3. I just kind of pick them up from reading

4. Not very long. I think that ease of learning the second set, whichever it is, just depends on how well you know the other set.

5. Honestly, when you get down to really "knowing" the sets for functional purposes, I think both sets are equally easy or difficult to transition to from the other. The only difference is in the initial learning and familiarizing oneself with Chinese writing. If you can read in one set pretty well, you'll pick up the other naturally--won't be able to write it, probably, but for functional purposes, who cares?

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gougou
The thing is I promised myself I wouldn't learn simplified.
裹足不前。。。:-?

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Long Zhiren

I was on the verge of stating ditto of Nipponman, however...

1. 20+ years

2. 繁体字

3. First encountered 简体字 in DeFrancis' Advanced Chinese Reader (5th volume of series) about 15 years ago. Since then, I just kind of pick them up from reading. It doesn't seem like a real big deal to me except that I default to 繁体字 when I write. Now, I'm one very confused puppy. I can handle both but am not entirely cognizant which one is which until I look in the dictionary. It's all somewhat transparent to me. I'm just exceedingly happy that I never wasted my time with bo po mo pho.

4. I'm still struggling to learn both. I still can't read anyone's _hand_writing! However, I focus on 繁体字 because most of my assignments are Taiwan or Hong Kong. My first assignment will be in mainland China after that so beginning next spring 2006, I'll focus on 简体字. I have a hard time looking up 简体字 in dictionaries. I'm still thinking radicals and stroke count and often have no clue what they are if I look at 简体字.

5. I only have one experience: 繁体字 to 简体字. It isn't a big deal.

>i think adoption of 2nd form of character will be much harder for non-native Chinese

>learners. What do you think?

I am a non-native Chinese learner. 简体字, as a 2nd form of character, is more of a minor annoyance than any real issue. [Put a mainland Chinese newspaper in front of me, and my reading speed slows way down.] Perhaps your experience suggests that 繁体字 is a difficult 2nd form of character?

For some odd reason, I'm looking forward to learning ancient characters now. Where in the world can I start???

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nipponman
The thing is I promised myself I wouldn't learn simplified.

裹足不前。。。

I don't get it' date=' why so hesitant?

Chinese are very strict when it comes to strokes and stroke order (if I wrote a word in the incorrect stroke order, my teacher wouldn't give me credit!). It also makes the word look different... somewhat.

I say don't worry about it. Stroke order isn't that important. Well, let me rephrase, when you write a character, you shouldn't have learned its stroke order with everythin else, you should know its stroke order. There are simple rules to follow so that you don't mess it up. But I use the rules from Japanese and chinese read my writing fine. One even said I write better than she does (That just means my righting is too rigid and unnatural. sigh, the one disadvantage of learning from a computer). Seriously, my characters look like what you see in njstar. Its hideous.

For some odd reason, I'm looking forward to learning ancient characters now. Where in the world can I start???

Alright! you're just like me. I write ancient characters all the time because I like to take the idea of traditional that step farther. For starters, try http://www.internationalscientific.org/chin_home.aspx

Hope that helps!

nipponman

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Lu

1. 5 years

2. Traditional

3. After two years, when I came to Beijing

4. About two weeks, almost effortless. I only had to look up a few characters like 过 and 这, that are very frequent and quite different from the traditional, and then I could read in simplified as good as in traditional.

5. Trad --> simpl, by all means. But I haven't tried it the other way around, obviously.

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Mai Kairong

1. 4 yrs

2. Traditional

3. I started learning to read them in my second year of studying Mandarin. I've never officially learned to write simplified, although I've picked up on a few things simply through exposure.

4. My reading comprehension of simplified is considerably lower than my comprehension of traditional, because usually when I learn new vocab I learn it in traditional and don't bother to learn the simplified until I've known the word for a while. But I'm gradually improving my reading skills for both types.

5. Traditional to simplified

I don't think learning a second type of character is that hard. I mean, I usually only concentrate on traditional, because I am more interested in learning new words than learning a different way to write what I already know, but the simplified characters that I do know I learned easily.

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Long Zhiren

Nipponman,

Thanks for the link in #11. I bookmarked it.

Have you read any of the following? They're on my reading list but I haven't yet gotten to any of them.

"The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy", by John DeFrancis

Chinese oracle bone characters: "Sources of Shang History" by David N. Keightley

"The Composition of Common Chinese Characters: An Illustrated Account", from Peking University Press.

Leon Wieger "Chinese Characters: Their origin, etymology, history, classification, and signification."

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Celso Pin

" In 1964 the list of simplified characters was officially published with Government approval, with minor changes. This final list consists of three parts: 352 simplified characters whose simplified forms cannot be used as radicals in complex characters, 132 characters which can be used as radicals in complex characters (as in Figure 2), and 14 simplified radicals which only occur in complex characters but affect many hundreds of characters. The total number of characters simplified is then 1754."

or else, we are talking about less then 1800 characters...... in truth

352 simplified characters whose simplified forms cannot be used as radicals in complex characters,

132 characters which can be used as radicals in complex characters , and

14 simplified radicals which only occur in complex characters

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Celso Pin

1. 3 months

2. Simplified

3. not yet

4. hard to say... but based on my prior message, not too much...

5. traditional ==> simplified (logically thinking)

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