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To Learn Traditional or Simplified Characters?

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It is a question that has baffled many a foreigner when they first start their Chinese-learning journey.
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  • Chinese
  • Characters
  • To learn traditional or simplified characters? It is a question that has baffled many a foreigner when they first start their Chinese-learning journey. Of course, Chinese characters plays a crucial role in the language so this is a pretty important decision!
  • To Learn Traditional or Simplified Characters?
  • 01
  • So, where are simplified 
    and traditional characters used?
    ————
  • Traditional characters are more complicated because they involve more strokes than simplified characters. Traditional characters are exactly that: traditional. They have been used for over 3000 years. Simplified characters were invented in the 1950s when the Chinese government wanted to simplify the writing system in order to decrease rates of illiteracy across China. Nowadays, traditional characters are seldom used on the mainland. 
  • 02
  • What is the difference between traditional characters and simplified characters?
    ————
  • In mainland China simplified characters are predominately used. However, once you venture further into the Chinese-speaking world, the characters vary. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau (and Japan!) all retain traditional characters. Though places with overseas Chinese communities such as Singapore and Malaysia still use simplified characters, they are still different to the mainland simplified characters. Though this may seem very confusing, this doesn’t mean however that the other systems will be completely incomprehensible. Often Chinese people can still decipher the meaning of the character in the other styles. 
  • 03
  • Let’s take a look at some examples:
    ————

  • (a)
    To fly :fēi
    Simplified :飞  Traditional:飛

    (b)
    Wind :fēng
    Simplified :风    Traditional:風

    (c)
    Inside :lǐ
    Simplified :里Traditional:裏

  • 04
  • How do Chinese people learn characters ?
    ————
  • Chinese people learn characters at school often through rote memorization. The Chinese government puts literacy at 2000 characters, though most students who finish high school will know around 4,500. Even before children enter school, their parents will normally start teaching them some characters so that they can recognize common ones. 

    When they enter primary school, they will first learn the basic strokes:

    一:横héng,丨:竖shù, 丿:撇piě, 丶:捺nà 

    and characters become more complicated as they progress to higher grades. 
  • 05
  • Which should you learn ?
    ————
  • Whilst learning characters is highly recommended when learning Chinese, the form of the characters is entirely up to you! It depends on where you want to go and your objectives for studying Chinese. 

    zhù nǐ hǎo yùn! 
    祝你好运!
  • Are you interested in Cinese Characters ? 
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    ————
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