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Chinese learners - Simplified or Traditional?


Simplified or Traditional  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Simplified or Traditional

    • Simplified
    • Traditional
    • Both entirely equally

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No, not another 'which do you prefer' topic . .

Just want to do a quick poll of the Chinese learners on here - which would you consider to be your 'main' script - which I guess means which do you feel most comfortable working in. For me it's simplified, as all my learning has been done on the mainland. I can plough through traditional stuff, but it's a lot slower.

A quick response on the poll above will be fine - if you want to add more detail though then that's fine but I'd prefer to keep this factual in terms of what you learn and why - Discussion is already taking place here (must be one of our longest running discussions, over two years old and still active :shock: )

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I would have to say that simplified has become the script in which I am the most comfortable - as I'm currently studying on the Mainland. However, when I started learning Chinese, we learned traditional. So time and time again, a random traditional character will pop up out of nowhere.

Case in point - today in class, we had a 听写. In my rush to keep up with the rest of the class, instead of writing 灯, I wrote 燈 - partially because it makes more sense in terms of etymology...

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There is the interesting debate of what should it be in theory- traditional/ simplified. There are arguments on each side. Overall, I think traditional wins out, but as roddy pointed out, that debate should not continue here.

If you are a Chinese person studying English in China, you will hear a mix of American, Canadian, British, and Australian accents. But if you go and study abroad to America, it won't be long until you are more comfortable with Americanisms, American slang, and American accents. In China, the simialrly controversial question of, "which accent should I study?" is not that relevant anymore once someone studies abroad.

Likewise, I think the traditional/simplified debate has a bit of the feeling of "how many angels can dance of the top of a pin" if you live somewhere in the Chinese world that already uses one script or another. If you live in Hong Kong, of course traditional will be easier. If you live in the Mainland, you are bombarded by simplified.

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Having learned out of the Huang and Stimson books in college, the policy was that we had to read and write traditional, and had to be able to read simplified. Then I spent 8 months in Taiwan where I did not have access to simplified. This was back in the early '80s. So I am more comfortable with traditional, but working on simplified to catch up. The other thing is that because NJStar under the view menu can toggle between simplified and traditional, I usually write with it set to traditional. Then if I am writing an email to someone from the mainland, toggle it to simplified and cut and paste. This is an obvious trick but some of the self-study newbies might find it useful.

Currently I am reviewing the Huang and Stimson books which have both systems, but also working on listening with the David and Helen books. I actually coughed up the money for the D+H books, and decided to get the simplified version, although the vocab lists are in both, the main passages are simplified in this version. Note also that A New Text for Modern China has the passages in both simplified and traditional.

For those who want to concentrate on pinyin at first and reading and writing later, you might check out the Huang and Stimson series. It has separate spoken and written tracks, which recognizes the fact that typical English speakers can absorb more spoken Chinese vocab than reading /writing vocab.

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Let's not get into that discussion again, there are other threads for that (many of them).

I started studying traditional, came to Beijing after two years and completely shifted to simplified. Came back, didn't study much characters for about a year, then went to Taipei and discovered I still knew traditional quite well. So now I can read and write both, but if I can choose I use mostly simplified.

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  • 1 year later...

I've added that, but would draw attention to the original question in my first post all those years ago - which would you consider to be your 'main' script. I don't think the results would be that useful if every simplified learner who can recognize 個 from HK subtitles clicked both.

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Ok I know what you mean. For me I am learning simplified by default (living in mainland) but am frequently in Hong Kong as well as am studying 书法 so for me I feel I am learning both and hope to intentionally be at the same level in both. Thanks!

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It's not about interest it's about the studying part. I have equal interest but because I live in mainland I see simplified everyday so I will naturally learn them faster. In Hong Kong or Taiwan they will naturally learn Traditional faster.

I haven't voted yet because I haven't decided if I can say both EQUALLY simply because I live in the mainland and the majority of daily life exposure is simplified. Quicker to learn because I see it everyday.

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  • 11 years later...

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