Simplified vs Traditional Chinese Characters

john  —  April 27, 2014


One of hard­est parts of learn­ing Man­darin (apart from speak­ing the cor­rect tones) is being able to read and write Chi­nese char­ac­ters. It’s a slow and painful progress, with no real short cuts. (Although I am hop­ing read­ing Remem­ber­ing Sim­pli­fied Hanzi will help, but you still need to study hard to learn this way). How­ever, every time I feel myself get­ting frus­trated with my progress I remind myself that at least I am learn­ing sim­pli­fied Chi­nese. Tra­di­tional Chi­nese is the orig­i­nal ver­sion, which is still using in Hong Kong, Macau and Tai­wan. Sim­pli­fied Chi­nese was devel­oped dur­ing the 1950s to make char­ac­ters eas­ier to read and write and to increase lit­er­acy across China. You can see from the high­lighted exam­ple just how sim­pli­fied many of the char­ac­ters are from their orig­i­nal tra­di­tional form. The word ‘to know’ (rèn­shi) looks like this 认识 in sim­pli­fied Chi­nese and like this 認識 in tra­di­tional Chi­nese. So hooray for Sim­pli­fied hanzi and thank good­ness I don’t need to learn tra­di­tional Chi­nese characters.

(Blog posted by Ray on April 1, 2014. You can see the original article by following this link to