Every beginner in a Chinese class has problems distinguishing between traditional and simplified Chinese. Both will be challenging to a learner, but you can always opt to learn one of them before going for both. Most people in Chinese speaking countries use simplified writing despite it being in the world for less than a century. This is different from traditional Chinese, which has existed for thousands of years.
The Rise of Simplified Chinese
Chinese speaking countries have been using the Traditional writing system since ancient times. However, this changed in 1949 after the end of the Second World War after the new communist regime assumed power. The illiteracy rate was high at this time, so they began to encourage their citizens to improve their writing skills. The Simplified Chinese replaced the complex Traditional writing system. Simplified Chinese had fewer characters and strokes. This encouraged more people to learn how to write, as it was now much easier.
Simplified Chinese Versus Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese is an easier version of Traditional Chinese. This means that most people would opt to learn Simplified system rather than straining to learn the complex Traditional Chinese. However, a group of people will also choose to learn the Traditional Chinese for them to gain a complete understanding of Chinese linguistic culture. Below are some popular distinguishing features between the two writing systems.
Characters and Strokes
Traditional Chinese uses strokes that are more complex. The strokes also take more time to write, and they can be hard to read if written in a small font. Simplified Chinese, on the other hand, has simplified characters that are easier to write, read, and memorise. The characters used in Simplified Chinese have also evolved since they were first penned down in the mid-20th century. Therefore, you should consider polishing your Chinese skills after every few years to ensure you stay in touch with the latest updates.
The use of the different Chinese writing systems varies from one country to another. You may consider learning Traditional Chinese if you live in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao while Simplified Chinese is ideal for people living in Singapore, China, and Malaysia. chinese language courses in Singapore will mostly recommend you learn Simplified Chinese.
You should be ready to learn Hanyu Pinyin upon joining a Chinese class as a beginner. Pinyin uses phonetic symbols to help you learn the pronunciation of Chinese words. Traditional Chinese, on the other hand, has 37 phonetics, all of which represents different sounds. This helps the leaner with pronunciations before learning how to write the characters.
Which one is easier?
The answer to this question varies from one person to another. Traditional Chinese characters are easier to write and memorise for some people while others will always go for the Simplified Chinese. Therefore, you can consider looking at the two separately before choosing your favourite option.
Both Traditional and Simplified Chinese are equally important depending on your needs and the region you come from. If you intend to learn more about the ancient Chinese culture, then Traditional Chinese will be your best option. Simplified Chinese is ideal if you are looking at books written after the Second World War. It is also the common language used in computers and phones. You may consider going for the two options instead of just learning one of them. In this case, it is ideal to start with the complex Traditional Chinese before learning the Simplified one.