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Studying Simplified Chinese Characters or Traditional Chinese Characters

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Traditional or Simplified Chinese Characters

I am wondering what would be better for me: Studying Simplified Chinese Characters or the traditional Script.. Is studying traditional characters much more difficult than studying the simplified one’s? What are you studying and why? really can’t make a decision.  8)

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It is really depending on your "goals". This is what I think about the advantages / disadvantages about the two:

„ Advantages“ of Studying Simplified Chinese Characters

I don’t know if there are any advantages to be honest. You might see the „lower difficulty level“ as an advantage though. But then again, some people argue that studying simplified characters is not easier than studying traditional chinese characters. Their main argument is that a lot of (semantic) information gets lost in simplified characters, therefore remembering (writing) simplified characters is more difficult. So even if they have to write much more complex characters ( strokes ) they think that this is still easier than writing simplified characters as the (full)  „meaning“ is still represented by the writing (strokes).

„Advantages“ of Studying Traditional Chinese Characters

Studying Traditional Chinese characters has a lot of „advantages“ over studying the simplified script. First of all, many reckon that the traditional script is more beautiful. I would also agree here :=) Secondly, if you are into historical (ancient) literature, you will, of course, need to know the traditional characters. The same is also true for literature from Taiwan and Hong Kong of course,, as they still mostly use traditional characters in those places

Lastly, as above-mentioned, traditional characters offer you more (semantic) information about a certain character. Therefore, it might be easier to memorize the character and it’s meaning. If you are into Karaoke, you will need to know the traditional characters as well (characters of the song lyrics are almost always in traditional script) *_*

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cheers, Marcel!

I might go with the simplified Chinese characters then. I just want to read contemporary Chinese. I am not interested in Karaoke :shy: and if I do not understand books from Hong Kong and Taiwan, that is ok too...: :tongue: I might study the traditional ones later on.

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you are welcome james  :smile:

if there is something else you would like to know about simplified and traditional chinese characters, just ask..and if you are lucky I can help you  :laugh:

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I guess it's better to learn simplified Chinese (Mandarin), which is popular and acceptable almost anywhere as long as there are Chinese speaking people. If you speak traditional Chinese (Cantonese), only people of south (especially in Guangdong province) will understand you, and maybe Chinese living in Singapore and Malaysia could also understand you. But if you speak Mandarin, almost people in Whole China will understand you, and Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, etc. could also understand Mandarin I guess.

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In general, traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan and simplified ones in China, so I think that learning simplified characters might be more useful.

Simplified characters aren't really easier to learn, though, as some people might believe :P

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I started learning Chinese in Taiwan and in Taiwan they use traditional characters so that is what I started with. After I left Taiwan I realized that simplified characters were more useful overall. I think it was easier to go from traditional characters to simplified because besides some exceptions, the simplified characters are often parts of the traditional characters. If you plan on learning both I would say start with traditional. If not just focus on simplified, it's easier and more practical.

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Personally, I like traditional characters more. I think they're nicer to look at and where I'm from, they're more useful.

I only use simplified when I don't remember how to write a character in traditional XD

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I grew up writing in Simplified Chinese because that was what schools taught students Simplified Chinese. I was also able to read Traditional Chinese because most of the books or newspaper I have read are in Traditional Chinese. I think Traditional Chinese to harder to learn, which words have more strokes than in Simplified Chinese. It is your personal preference. If you want to study simpler words, then Simplified Chinese is good. However, Traditional Chinese is the most commonly used type of writing in Chinese language.

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I guess it's better to learn simplified Chinese (Mandarin), which is popular and acceptable almost anywhere as long as there are Chinese speaking people. If you speak traditional Chinese (Cantonese), only people of south (especially in Guangdong province) will understand you, and maybe Chinese living in Singapore and Malaysia could also understand you. But if you speak Mandarin, almost people in Whole China will understand you, and Chinese in Singapore, Malaysia, etc. could also understand Mandarin I guess.

Please excuse me but I need to quote you on this. Simplified Chinese doesn't mean it's Mandarin and Traditional Chinese certainly is not Cantonese per se. The terms simplified and traditional only mean the form of writing. "Simplified" as it implies is an easier way to write which requires less strokes while "traditional" is ... well, traditional.

Each province has their own dialect. Cantonese and Mandarin are dialects, so are Hokkien and Hakka but every ethnic group uses one unified writing and that is Chinese (either traditional or simplified). There is still no "one" standard to the usage of the Chinese writing yet so it's all up to the preference of the writer.

As to the TC's question, personally I prefer Traditional Chinese because I find Simplified Chinese to be sloppy and less complete while Traditional Chinese is more clean and elegant.

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I've learned from somewhere that when it comes to writing, it doesn't matter if you speak Mandarin or Cantonese as both speakers will understand the written Chinese character.  But my question is - does this apply to both simplified and traditional characters? or just the traditional ones?

Well anyway, in my opinion, if you're still learning how to write Chinese characters then better stick to the traditional ones because as Daimashin puts it - it's more complete, clean and elegant.  :love:

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I'd recommend just studying the traditional characters and then maybe branch out to the simplified versions later on. I think knowing the original version is much better because you gain a lot more insight into the history and essence of particular words since they are still mostly pictographs which tell a lot of the history of the culture, whereas you might not get the same effect on the simplified versions even if you do get to write them faster.

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As far as I know, the best way would to be to start off with simplified characters, since those are used more often then move on to traditional if you want. Although in my area there tends to be more traditional script, I still prefer simplified.

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I'd love to learn both simplified and traditional. I want to know if learning the traditional will make me go back to scratch if I already know the simplified or just a few strokes in the character? Do they have the same grammar structure and meaning of words? Chinese is a very complicated language but very challenging to learn. Not to mention that in China alone, they speak different languages, like Cantonese, Hokien and the official Chinese, Putonghua. Do we have to learn them all? Do they have the same characters and only the spoken language is different? 

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On 7/15/2013, 8:00:57, James H. said:

Traditional or Simplified Chinese Characters

 

I am wondering what would be better for me: Studying Simplified Chinese Characters or the traditional Script.. Is studying traditional characters much more difficult than studying the simplified one’s? What are you studying and why? really can’t make a decision.  8)

 

Well, you should be grateful that you have a choice! Here, I can only find tertiary institutions that will teach the simplified version. 

Our first year teacher did take the time (and with the help of a forest full of separate hand-outs), to show how each simplified character developed from the "original", depending upon how far back it was traced... to a point! 

My Cantonese wife, perhaps along with many of her countrymen, privately dare to disagree with the simplifications imposed upon the people by the Government in Beijing. The latest round of dramatic changes, I believe, was enforced in the 1950's, possibly for the purpose of national unity.

I'm very much left to my own devices as to how I can remember the meaning and construction of each character. In most cases, it's a war of attrition... the more I use them, the more I should remember them.     

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