Monday, June 1, 2009

Complicating the Simplified

For those who missed the announcent, the Chinese government will be issuing a series of official changes to the "simplified" written system where it has been over-simplified. There's plenty of debate as to whether they're heading back to the "Traditional" system.

You can read more about this in The Economist.


  1. I'm really happy that simplified characters stay simplified
    I have a splitting headache as I'm trying to study both sets of Hanzi with Dr. Heisig's book

    simple simplifications such as 页 and 頁 are easy to deal with, but others are more difficult as they're not systematic
    for example, to sell 賣 appears within the first 500 words in the traditional book, but 卖 doesn't come up until the 800th characters

    within the first 500 Hanzi that I learned in each book, there are about 150-200 characters (about 20%) that are different

    do you have any tips for managing traditional and simplified characters?

    (I plan to go to China or Taiwan to study Chinese next year, but I don't know going to which country is more realistic, hence the headache)

  2. Anna, I'll give you my thoughts (but of course everyone has their own opinion) ...

    I recommend you pick one - I suggest simplified - and study just one. Seriously.

    My background was while living in London I did the Heisig Simplified book, and then I ended up moving to HK where they use traditional!! But what I found was the most of the characters were the same, many of them could be guessed (as you suggest wrt characters containing 页 and 頁). And others just had to be learned.

    But it's just so much easier to "learn through osmosis" than actually having to memorise a separate set of images.

    The other thing to consider is that learning two sets is giving you a headache ... and the biggest risk now is that you lose your passion for learning. So stick with the Simplified, you enjoy the Simplified, and if you move to Taiwan you'll pick up the others easily enough - for now just focus on one.

    IMHO :)

  3. I think I'll concentrate on simplified then, as they have many less strokes and I plan to take the HSK
    Thanks for the advice!

  4. Excellent choice! Stay focused, and continue to enjoy it. Let us know once you have passed your HSK :-)