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Jamie

Simplified vs. Traditional

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Guest Yinyue Mike

There have been some interesting points brought up. This is all fun to discuss, though I'm afraid it might not be helping answer the original question, but that's okay. :-)

I completely agree that blindly trying to reduce the number of strokes was perhaps missing the point as to what makes Chinese characters difficult. Simplification did a few things I do like, such as select one character as the standard when there are various forms for the same character, and sometimes the new phonetic or radical chosen was better and simpler than the original. Unfortunately, sometimes the original characters made more sense. I also agree that traditional characters tend to be made of more clear building blocks, such as 練 instead of 练. The first time I tried to write that form I found it very difficult because the shapes are not natural in traditional Chinese.

It is true, though, that forms like this existed before "official" simplification in the form of handwriting. The CCP simplified characters in two phases, and wanted to do it a third time, but the public outcry was enough to stop further alterations. However, many simplified characters were invented in the simplification process, such as 业. Sometimes, a rarely used character was chosen that had the same sound as a more complex, common character, such as our favorite 后. This sort of simplification has happened all along and is by no means new.

The only other bone I would have to pick with the simplified characters is that creating new polyphonic characters is not necessarily welcome (破音字 in Chinese) For instance, 斗 came to represent both 斗 dou3 and 鬥 dou4, and to make matters worse, in compounds 鬥 is represented by 门 men2. It's not the end of the world, but it's easier to understand the meaning of a character when the radical (meaning component) is clear.

Overall, I think simplification is a good thing, but was a little misguided in some respects.

As far as how characters are being used, here is my interpretation of the trend: In mainland China, simplified characters dominate, but traditional characters are common on business signs (traditional characters are considered "classier" because of their association with HK and Taiwan) as well in media products. I don't see simplified characters going away, because even though traditional characters are becoming more prevalent on the mainland, simplified characters are being seen more overseas, though most Chinese printed in overseas Chinese communities and HK and Taiwan are still in traditional characters. But western academia has pretty much adopted simplified characters, as has the UN. Also, Singapore uses simplified characters officially.

Have fun!

Mike

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smithsgj
If the simplification process aims mainly to improve literacy by decreasing the strokes' date=' then how come 後 with only 9 strokes has to be lessened to 后 which still has 6 strokes while the 19-stroke "Jiang" of "Xinjiang" remains intact under the simplified script?

If the system aims to improve easiness of writing, then it should set a standard like all characters that exceed 15 strokes have to be simplified!

But under Mainland's simplified script, there are still plenty of characters with very numerous strokes![/quote']

I suppose the idea was to simplify the more common characters Ian.

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Ian_Lee

If the simplification aims to simplify more common characters, then how come the two characters Hong Kong (Xianggang) with 9 strokes and 11 strokes are not simplified?

These two characters are as commonly used as 後 and with same/more strokes.

And very interestingly the simplified script of the first character of Macau (Aomen) is 15 strokes which is just one stroke less than the traditional script.

If it is merely the difference between 15 strokes and 16 strokes, why simplified in the first place?

For me, it looks like the process is kind of arbitrary.

And the invented simplified character 业 looks like a heap of grass on the land, how can it be related to its original meaning?

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Ian_Lee

Here is the first character of Macau (Aomen) in traditional script:

澳 -- 16 strokes

Look it in bigger character from Macau Daily:

http://www.macaodaily.com/

Here is the simplified script from People's Daily:

http://unn.people.com.cn/GB/21675/index.html

澳 -- 15 strokes

Now I pity those Grade 1/2/3 kids in Macau who would easily get confused by these two scripts!

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roddy
These two characters are as commonly used as 後
Which table of character frequency are you using?

Roddy

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roddy

Well I assumed you must have one Ian, otherwise you are guessing and making it look like facts. Aren't you?

Roddy

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Ian_Lee

Roddy:

In rebuking me, you are also guessing that 後 is more frequently used than either xiang or gang.

By the way, why don't you ask Quest for character frequency table when Quest first "guessed" that Jiang of Xinjiang is less frequently used than 後.

I guess Quest must have the table. Go ask him to show you.

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roddy

Erm . . . no. So which one is more frequent?

Roddy

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Quest
Roddy:

In rebuking me' date=' you are also guessing that 後 is more frequently used than either xiang or gang.

By the way, why don't you ask Quest for character frequency table when Quest first "guessed" that Jiang of Xinjiang is less frequently used than 後.

I guess Quest must have the table. Go ask him to show you.[/quote']

Since you so desperately want to know, I did a search on google.

疆:Results 1 - 10 of about 475,000. Search took 0.90 seconds

后:Results 1 - 10 of about 11,700,000. Search took 1.03 seconds.

後:Results 1 - 10 of about 11,800,000. Search took 0.20 seconds

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smithsgj

gang: Results 1 - 10 of about 8,850,000. Search took 0.23 seconds

xiang: Results 1 - 10 of about 5,180,000. Search took 0.34 seconds

Well... I'm surprised.

At a guess, I'd say around the time of the character simplification process, "Hong Kong" was used a lot less than it is now. But that really is a guess. "Nice-smelling"? Nothing smelt nice in China in those days. "Harbour"? There wasn't any trade, or foreign travel, so no-one talked about harbours much.

If character frequency was taken into account in deciding what to simplify and what not, I imagine it would have been down to the intuitions of those involved, not real character counts (not from Google anyway, hahaha)

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Quest

Exactly.

They had their reasons and methods for simplification, maybe pure intuition, maybe based on materials available to them at that time.

God knows why they simplified this and not that, but in general we can say that they simplified the more common but complicated characters.

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Guest cavebear

The simplification was done by the CHINESE PEOPLE ( or the mob) over a long period. They simplify those characters they use every day.

A lot simplified forms were used over a thousand years ago. If you read any chinese documnet excavated from the tombs, you will see many of them.

In 1950's There was a committee ( most of the members are not from CCP) that went through every character and decided which form among the several in use is the recommended one. And their recomendation was accepted.

Years later the same committee came up with a second version in whcih more radical simplification was suggested. There was a simplified Jiang疆 in this batch. I can remember some books were printed in those "very much simplified" fonts. This version however encountered enormous resistance and was later abandoned, because this time the simplification was done by the radical intellectuals in their studio and was considered "artificial"by the majority who don't want to become the guinea pig in some cultural experiment.

You see this kind of struggle in every language. British people got pissed of when his "colour" was marked wrong by the American software. When people owe you money they write you a "check", is that OK?

People are mindful of their pride and status when using language. Some took it too far, standing knee deep in their own blood.

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Guest Anonymous

Edited. I removed this post here on the basis that the only coherent bits were insults. Roddy

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Guest Anonymous

omfg roddy.....u want democracy but u cant act like one.....deleting posts..........the only insult i said was some guy "is an idiot" and "he's sad"....that;'s all i said.............there aint no racial slur, slander, cussing.....

u need to chill out......

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roddy

Check your email, freak.

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Quest

Let's follow roddy's rules here :P he's the policeman.

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roddy

Well apparently I 'really suk' and didn't understand because I 'live in mainland'. Personally I'm starting to suspect that bored16yearolds.com is linking to us, but maybe that's because I 'suk'.

At the same time, I'm aware that there aren't any well-defined rules on how the forum runs, and that could be a problem as it gets larger. The suggestion forum is always open, and the topic linked in my signature is an attempt to address this.

Comments on specific cases should come to me by pm.

Roddy

PS Do I really suk?

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smithsgj

Aww... wish I'd had a chance to read it!

But 'idiot', 'sad' and 'sucks' are fairly insulting, and insults have no place here. This forum is for reasoned debate and the odd bit of fun, not shouting at people.

This forum is moderated and I think the moderator does a fairly good job. If you don't like it, you can always invoke your democratic right not to use it.

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Guest
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