Should I learn writing Chinese with simplified or traditional characters?

I want to learn Chinese, and particularly, I want to learn to write and read it. I was originally going to learn the traditional characters, but I’ve heard simplified is more common now. I like the look of traditional much more, to be honest (from what I’ve seen anyway), and I’d think it’d be cool to know because I would be able to read old literature from China, and learn of its history easier. I would really like to learn traditional. But would doing so be practical? I heard almost no one uses the traditional system anymore. Would people be able to recognize it though? Like if I was chatting online with a person in China, and used traditional characters, would they be able to recognize them? As in… Do the character sets look similar? And do people still study and learn traditional? How often is it used compared to simplified?

So basically, I’d LOVE to learn traditional instead, but I can’t decide if it’d be worth it, if few people use it anymore.

Thanks

You said "So basically, I’d LOVE to learn traditional instead, but I can’t decide if it’d be worth it, if few people use it anymore."

Actually, that’s where you’ve got it all wrong! Mainland China is the ONLY place on Earth that use this god-awful Simplified Chinese written system that made popular by Mao. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea & Japan (Their Hanzi system, with some of their own simplified or variations of Hanzi inventions), and everywhere in the world where you can find Chinatown, you see most people still use Traditional Chinese. You want to read classical Chinese poem and literature? How about Buddhist and Daoist scripts? Would you like to read ancient calligraphy and scrolls in both 故宮 (In Beijing China and Taipei Taiwan)? How about those different forms of Chinese calligraphy? How about try to read those beautiful ancient seal script unified by Qin Dynasty (the Emperor who owns those terracotta warriors) Then you should better learn to read Traditional Chinese, because it’s your key to the past and the future.

故宮博物院 The Palace Museum in Beijing

http://www.dpm.org.cn/index1024768.html

國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum in Taipei
(On a documentary, they say Chiang took most valuable artifacts and national treasures with him when he escaped with all his troops to Taiwan, so they say this sister museum have much greater and better collections than the one in Beijing)

http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/home.htm

Are you still worry about not understanding the Simplify Chinese? DON’T! Believe me, once you mastering the Traditional Chinese, the foundation written system that came with pictorial meaning behind every stroke, you’ll learn to recognize this god-awful Simplified Chinese system in no time! I am a native Mandarin speaker and I never officially spend any time learning how to read Simplify Chinese, and yet by watching online news from China and watching their tv drama for a while, I can read Simplify Chinese in no difficulties, sometimes it’s very easy to guess what characters that you are dealing with, by read the whole sentence first.

I have a neighbor who’s a native German, who taught Chinese literature at the OSU, who speak fluent Mandarin and travel to Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong every year, once she told me when she spoke to both group of people, one uses Traditional Chinese and the other one uses Simplified Chinese, there’s a core difference between their daily expressions. (**When communist China forced its people to use this Simplified system on top of all those political brainwash movements, people have lost all their natural expressions learned from the past. They have been forced to speak "politically acceptable" garbage in the all superficial elaborated styles, because this is the only way to survive in that political environment, nobody trust each other but themselves, by never telling the truth and report the others for punishment, even with your own spouse or kids!) Now, she feels Mandarin Chinese in China has become the most utilitarian, awkward language in usage, because a lot of elder generation from Cultural Revolution try to shed off that way overly political optimism expressions from their brain, but they don’t know how. Youngster learned not to speak "fake" like their parents, but they too does not know how to express themselves straightforward without sounding like some coarse working class, or try to sound like bad writer who uses too much adjectives in their communication. People in China have used too much useless expressions that diluted down of their own power over language, they forgot the beauty of Chinese is that you can use a few words to express a great idea! On the contrary, people from Taiwan and Singapore, wherever they still read Traditional Chinese, does not lost this ability with their communication, because they learned from the traditional literatures in Traditional Chinese from the rich past, they never experienced any cultural cut-off forced by any politicians, plus Traditional Chinese these days have evolved in much richer level, the expression is very lively, and interesting, compared to very utilitarian Simplified Chinese literatures, she sees a big differece.

Youngsters in China use to have much more difficulties to understand Traditional Chinese, but the situation has changed a lot since they have learned to read Traditional Chinese from websites from Taiwan and Hong Kong. It would be sad if you believe there’s only a few people using Traditional Chinese these days around the globe, because that’s WHAT communist China wants you think. Don’t fall for that!

But Please DO NOT learn Simplified Chinese before the Traditional, you’ll get yourself VERY confused, and it’s a disadvantage! Would you suggest anyone who does not understand any bit of English to learn English text message shorthands and spelling before they learn how to spell English correctly? You know the answer.

4 Responses to “Should I learn writing Chinese with simplified or traditional characters?”

  1. lilyoungzta69 says:

    i know that in taiwan they still use traditional characters and thats a pretty big population. whatever seems more interesting to you just do it. =D
    References :

  2. Baobao Bear says:

    You said "So basically, I’d LOVE to learn traditional instead, but I can’t decide if it’d be worth it, if few people use it anymore."

    Actually, that’s where you’ve got it all wrong! Mainland China is the ONLY place on Earth that use this god-awful Simplified Chinese written system that made popular by Mao. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea & Japan (Their Hanzi system, with some of their own simplified or variations of Hanzi inventions), and everywhere in the world where you can find Chinatown, you see most people still use Traditional Chinese. You want to read classical Chinese poem and literature? How about Buddhist and Daoist scripts? Would you like to read ancient calligraphy and scrolls in both 故宮 (In Beijing China and Taipei Taiwan)? How about those different forms of Chinese calligraphy? How about try to read those beautiful ancient seal script unified by Qin Dynasty (the Emperor who owns those terracotta warriors) Then you should better learn to read Traditional Chinese, because it’s your key to the past and the future.

    故宮博物院 The Palace Museum in Beijing
    http://www.dpm.org.cn/index1024768.html

    國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum in Taipei
    (On a documentary, they say Chiang took most valuable artifacts and national treasures with him when he escaped with all his troops to Taiwan, so they say this sister museum have much greater and better collections than the one in Beijing)
    http://www.npm.gov.tw/en/home.htm

    Are you still worry about not understanding the Simplify Chinese? DON’T! Believe me, once you mastering the Traditional Chinese, the foundation written system that came with pictorial meaning behind every stroke, you’ll learn to recognize this god-awful Simplified Chinese system in no time! I am a native Mandarin speaker and I never officially spend any time learning how to read Simplify Chinese, and yet by watching online news from China and watching their tv drama for a while, I can read Simplify Chinese in no difficulties, sometimes it’s very easy to guess what characters that you are dealing with, by read the whole sentence first.

    I have a neighbor who’s a native German, who taught Chinese literature at the OSU, who speak fluent Mandarin and travel to Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong every year, once she told me when she spoke to both group of people, one uses Traditional Chinese and the other one uses Simplified Chinese, there’s a core difference between their daily expressions. (**When communist China forced its people to use this Simplified system on top of all those political brainwash movements, people have lost all their natural expressions learned from the past. They have been forced to speak "politically acceptable" garbage in the all superficial elaborated styles, because this is the only way to survive in that political environment, nobody trust each other but themselves, by never telling the truth and report the others for punishment, even with your own spouse or kids!) Now, she feels Mandarin Chinese in China has become the most utilitarian, awkward language in usage, because a lot of elder generation from Cultural Revolution try to shed off that way overly political optimism expressions from their brain, but they don’t know how. Youngster learned not to speak "fake" like their parents, but they too does not know how to express themselves straightforward without sounding like some coarse working class, or try to sound like bad writer who uses too much adjectives in their communication. People in China have used too much useless expressions that diluted down of their own power over language, they forgot the beauty of Chinese is that you can use a few words to express a great idea! On the contrary, people from Taiwan and Singapore, wherever they still read Traditional Chinese, does not lost this ability with their communication, because they learned from the traditional literatures in Traditional Chinese from the rich past, they never experienced any cultural cut-off forced by any politicians, plus Traditional Chinese these days have evolved in much richer level, the expression is very lively, and interesting, compared to very utilitarian Simplified Chinese literatures, she sees a big differece.

    Youngsters in China use to have much more difficulties to understand Traditional Chinese, but the situation has changed a lot since they have learned to read Traditional Chinese from websites from Taiwan and Hong Kong. It would be sad if you believe there’s only a few people using Traditional Chinese these days around the globe, because that’s WHAT communist China wants you think. Don’t fall for that!

    But Please DO NOT learn Simplified Chinese before the Traditional, you’ll get yourself VERY confused, and it’s a disadvantage! Would you suggest anyone who does not understand any bit of English to learn English text message shorthands and spelling before they learn how to spell English correctly? You know the answer.
    References :

  3. the_alliance47 says:

    I ran into the same problem as you when I first started learning Chinese. It is easier to learn Standard/Traditional characters before learning Simplified. Yes, Simplified is very common, because that is what is used on the Mainland and in Singapore. Because most Chinese teachers in the United States are from the Mainland, that is what they teach.

    However, Standard characters are used in the rest of the world and still retain much of the cultural richness of Chinese script. Standard characters are also used on the Mainland when displaying signs for artistic purposes. If you learn Standard characters first, it is easier to then try to read Simplified rather than the other way around.

    During second year Chinese courses at my school, the tests alternate between Standard and Simplified and the students who learned Standard first tended to finish the Simplified tests a bit faster than Simplified students taking Standard tests.

    I also ended up choosing Standard because many of the Simplified characters look almost the same, because they are so Simplified from the original. If you want to learn Standard characters, then go for it :)
    References :

  4. Dan O says:

    "Beginners guide to learn chinese" eBook can help you to understand everything about chinese language and respond to all your questions. It really help you to start quickly to understand. Many tips about how to learn this great language.
    Check the source site box and download it for free.
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    References :
    http://howtolearnchinese.getauniquegift.com

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