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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Simplified and Traditional Characters

China Daily News has an article about Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese Characters. The articles conclusion is they are equally good. Post I did about Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese Characters - Which to Learn

I disagree with a couple of points of the article "Jianti" and "fanti" are equally good.
  1. My understanding is if you can read one, you can read the other. I would compare it from driving a stick shift to an automatic. If you can read simplified you can read traditional, which is why most of the Chinese newspapers in the US are in Traditional Characters. Traditional characters just has a few more strokes. If you read Traditional characters, going the other way is a bit harder since strokes are missing, but still doable. And people who say they can't read the other type of characters are more into politics.
  2. Learning Simplified Characters is easier than traditional because there are less strokes. The counter argument is because traditional is more systematic, it's actually easier. The best comment I have read was when simplified characters were being created, they did not simplify it enough. They both require a huge amount of memorization. In English, we only need to deal with 27 sounds and rules that are not systematic (I taught ESL), but that's because English is a polygot language that has borrowed grammar and words from lots of languages.
Areas I agree with:
  1. On the issue of writing, that is much more challenging. I like the argument that the use of computers make this a non-issue.
  2. Traditional Characters have cultural significance.
  3. Traditional Characters are prettier. It's amazing when you have someone with good handwriting write traditional characters, they are a work of art!
Mysteries - Why is it my Father in Laws Chinese writing is so much better than my wifes? Why is it my Grandmother's Enlglish handwriting is so much better than mine? Do people's handwriting improve as they get older? Or are schools just slacking off. My wife's answer is I am just lazy :-)

This is a wonderful book just to read on Chinese Characters! It's one of my favorite books at ChildBook. A great activity is buy the book, get some ink and brushes, and just have fun writing characters.

Long Is A Dragon - Chinese Characters
Long Is A Dragon by Peggy Goldstein
Our Price: $17.95
Sale Price: $15.95
You Save $2.00!


Explains how Chinese writing developed and demonstrates how to write 75 Chinese Characters, using detailed instructions and examples, hardcover, English.


These are some book that are very popular for Learning Chinese Characters.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters, Volume 3
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters, Volume 2
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.

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