Why are there different Chinese, Simplified and Traditional?

May 31, 2009 at 06:29 | Posted in Language 语言, Translation 翻译 | Leave a comment
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Simplified and traditional Chinese nowadays refer to Chinese characters. Traditional Chinese characters are carried over from 3-thousand years of Chinese language history. Simplified Chinese characters reduce the amount of the strokes in most traditional Chinese characters.

For example, the word “tooth” in traditional Chinese requires 15 strokes: 齒, while it only needs 8 strokes in simplified Chinese: 齿. And the word “dragon” in traditional Chinese is formed by 16 strokes: 龍, while 5 strokes are enough in simplified Chinese: 龙.

Chinese started to simplify Chinese characters in the early 20th century to allow the ease of learning. The project was incomplete or delayed many times due to civil and world warfare until the early 1950s when the Mainland Chinese government formalized the simplified Chinese characters and implemented them as the national standard. As a result of the implementation, simplified Chinese characters prevail in Mainland China among its 1.3 billion population. Traditional Chinese characters are mostly used outside of Mainland China by the over 31 million people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and other overseas Chinese communities.

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