Why are there ‘Simplified’ and ‘Traditional’ Chinese characters?

Updated on July 25, 2018 in Learn Chinese
10 on May 15, 2014

I know Taiwanese people use the traditional characters. The traditional one looks very beautiful, but simple one seems much easier. Should I learn both?

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0 on May 15, 2014

Both Simplified and Traditional refer to written systems of Chinese that have been used in China since ancient times. The Simplified set or style was derived from the Traditional style by the government of the People’s Republic of China circa 1949 to 1964. The majority of “common” people in China could not read their system of writing, it was too complex. As with other developments that took place during this era it was deemed necessary to make a system of reading that was easier to learn and use. Hence “Simplified” Chinese was born. Simplified Chinese consists of an entirely different set of characters with simpler strokes and making them easier to remember as well as read- but this has led to a few problems regarding their original framework.

Today, Singapore, Malaysia, and Mainland China use the Simplified Chinese character set in an official capacity and the mandarin style. In HK that would be Traditional Chinese text, Cantonese style and for Taiwanese readers: Traditional Chinese text, mandarin style.

For everyday use, both sets have been used in nearly every Chinese community at one time or another.

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0 on May 19, 2014

I learned traditional characters in HongKong. Now I can read most of the simplified characters. And some of my friends who are from Chinese mainland also know the traditional version, though they learned simplified version. I think if you already know one character version, no matter it is traditional or simplified, you will soon acquire the other. But for me, writing is a problem.

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1 on May 19, 2014

I prefer the traditional character. it`s more beautiful and meaningful.

It`s love. But how to love even without a heart?

on May 19, 2016

but , the traditional Chinese is very hard to  Chinese simplified . Now I learn Chinese simplified and it is very simple , for me, and I know few character in the traditional Chinese , it was very beautiful , but heavy .I  don’t know in what areas they speak in simplified Chinese but I heard you speaking area . I as there locuies in China and has relatives there only are language courses Chinese and I find it a lb wonderful for icepup I ‘d say people inceama with the simplified after to teach the traditional one because if you teach ‘ll combine both when writing characters

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0 on March 18, 2016

Generally speaking, People in mainland China are using Simplified Chinese, And people in Taiwan, Hong Kong are using Traditional Chinese.  Actually it is standard in each area. And basically only if a website wants to cover all mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong market, they will provide both Simplified version and Traditional version. To most Chinese they can recognize both Simplified and Traditional Chinese, but the one they learned at primary school will be more comfortable to them.

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0 on March 29, 2016

It depends on your future plan to use Chinese, if you would like to use Chinese with HK people or TaiWan people, you can choose traditional Chinese. But in mainland China, you can decide to learn Simplified Chinese. Anyway, no matter it’s simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese, the pronunciation is the same.

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0 on April 28, 2016

I think pick one to start.  Don’t try to learn both right away.  I learned simplified in china, now I live in japan and the Kanji in the japanese writing is almost always traditional characters so I’m kicking myself.

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0 on May 9, 2016

Simplified are used in China, mainland, while traditional Chinese are used in HongKong, TaiWan,Macau.

If you are going to learn Chinese, simplified Chinese is more recommend, because it is easier to learn and used more widely.

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0 on March 15, 2017

Traditional Chinese is the writing system that Chinese-speakers have used for thousands of years. It’s a very COMPLICATED writing system. These characters have grown very subtle and complex over the years, and learning to write Chinese is a challenge even for Chinese natives. For foreigners, even trained translation services providers, it can be a very difficult process indeed. 

Simplified Chinese is exactly that – simplified. Promoted after World War II by the People’s Republic of China, the Simplified Chinese script originally was no different from Traditional Chinese in terms of vocabulary, just in the fact that most of the characters used to write out the language were literally simplified.  

Which version to choose? a geography based decision making. If you are simply targeting a geographic region the decision to use Simplified or Traditional Chinese becomes very clear. Simplified Chinese is used in mainland China (PRC) and in Singapore. If you are targeting Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Malaysia you would use the Traditional Chinese method of writing.

To my personal experience, many people versed in one writing system can usually read the other fairly easily. Choose one you like to start with – in this case, Simplified might be easier for you.

 

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0 on March 23, 2018

There are many debates about traditional and simplified Chinese in recent year. What is the difference between traditional and simplified Chinese? And which one is better to learn? Keep reading and you will find your answer.

Difference between traditional and simplified Chinese

Traditional Chinese: Traditional Chinese refers to Chinese characters that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946.

Where are traditional Chinese characters used: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau.

Advantage: The traditional Chinese, most of them are hieroglyphic. It conveys more significant than simplified Chinese. Here are some examples:

traditional and simplified Chinese

爱 ài (love) : As we saw it in the picture, left one with many strokes form is traditional characters and right one is simplified characters. In the traditional characters of love, there is a heart (心 xīn) in the mid of word, but the simplified character is without heart (心 xīn). So a lot of people will say, now the love is not the same as before, they love someone or something without heart.

乡 xiānɡ (Native place ): When i return to my native place, but my darling (郎lánɡ) is gone.

鱼 yú (fish): 60 years ago, the most of fish in the water, but 60 years later, the fish almost in the plate.

Disadvantage: Some traditional Chinese characters are too complicated to write. Complex strokes make writing Chinese more difficult.

Simplified Chinese: Simplified Chinese refers to standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Xiandai Hanyu Tongyong Zibiao 现代汉语通用字表 (List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese) for use in mainland China.

Where are simplified Chinese characters used: Chinese mainland, Singapore, Malaysia.

Advantage:
1. Use more widely: simplified Chinese is an inevitable trend of the development history of the Chinese characters. Now only in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan North America used traditional characters, and the number is about more than three thousand. Simplified Chinese used in mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore and southeast Asian Chinese community, using the number of more than one billion three hundred million. In addition, like Japan, South Korea also has some characters, simplified characters have been appeared in recent years.
2. Simplified decreases the number of Chinese character strokes and the number of Chinese characters, which reduces the difficulty of learning Chinese characters, accelerate the speed of writing at the same time, is beneficial to popularization education, and easy for public to communication.
3. In computers, cell phones, PDA, digital equipment, limited size, simplified Chinese characters stroke are relatively simple, show more clearly.

Disadvantage: It is not good for spreading the Chinese culture. After characters simplified, lots of Chinese people cannot read the ancient classical literature. It also lost the original aesthetic of the traditional Chinese characters.

Traditional or simplified Chinese, which one is better to learn?

After comparing the traditional or simplified Chinese, you may have a basic understanding about them. Choose the better one according to your specific learning needs:

If you are a Chinese learning beginner and if you are going to use Chinese in mainland, you had better learn simplified Chinese. It is easy to recognize and write.

 

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