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Simplified Chinese characters are standardized
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
used in
Mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since Proclamation of ...

Mainland China
and
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
, as prescribed by the ''
Table of General Standard Chinese Characters The ''Table of General Standard Chinese Characters'' () is the current standard list of 8,105 Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adap ...
''. Along with
traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters are one type of standard Chinese characters, Chinese character sets of the contemporary written Chinese. The traditional characters had taken shapes since the libian, clerical change and mostly remained in the sa ...
, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary
Chinese written language Written Chinese () comprises Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adapted to write other East-Asian languages, and remain a key component o ...
. The
government of the People's Republic of China A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...
in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population of more than 1.4 billio ...

People's Republic of China
, Malaysia and Singapore, while traditional Chinese characters are used in
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a and of China on the eastern in . With over 7.5 million residents of various nationalities in a territory, Hong ...

Hong Kong
,
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a and of the in the western by the . With a population of about 680,000 and an area of , it is the most in the ...

Macau
,
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
as well as
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A cou ...

South Korea
to a certain extent. Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name above or colloquially . In its broadest sense, the latter term refers to all characters that have undergone simplifications of character "structure" or "body", some of which have existed for millennia alongside regular, more complicated forms. On the other hand, the official name refers to the modern systematically simplified character set, which (as stated by then-Chairman
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for stu ...

Mao Zedong
in 1952) includes not only structural simplification but also substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters.書同文 :《漢字簡化方案》制訂始末,黄加佳,新华网
Detailed account of the Chinese simplification effort. (Wayback Machine 2018-08-19)
Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of
strokes A stroke is a medical condition in which poor blood flow Hemodynamics American and British English spelling differences#ae and oe, or haemodynamics are the Fluid dynamics, dynamics of blood flow. The circulatory system is controlled by homeosta ...
and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writin ...
forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character, usually the simplest amongst all variants in form. Finally, many characters were left untouched by simplification and are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies. A second round of simplifications was promulgated in 1977, but was later retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons, largely due to the confusion caused and the unpopularity of the second round simplifications. In August 2009, China began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters. The new ''Table of General Standard Chinese Characters'' consisting of 8,105 (simplified and unchanged) characters was officially implemented for use by the
State Council of the People's Republic of China The State Council, Constitution of the People's Republic of China, constitutionally synonymous with the Central People's Government since 1954 (particularly in relation to local governments), is the Cabinet (government), chief administrative ...
on June 5, 2013.


History


China


Before 1949

Although most simplified Chinese characters in use today are the result of the works moderated by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1950s and 1960s, the use of some of these forms predates the PRC's formation in 1949.
Caoshu Cursive script (), often mistranslated as grass script, is a script style used in Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the ...

Caoshu
, cursive written text, was the inspiration of some simplified characters, and for others, some are attested as early as the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
(221–206 BC) as either vulgar variants or original characters. One of the earliest proponents of character simplification was
Lufei Kui Lufei Kui (, 17 September 1886 – 9 July 1941) was a Chinese essayist, linguist, and publisher. His courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This pr ...
, who proposed in 1909 that simplified characters should be used in education. In the years following the
May Fourth Movement The May Fourth Movement was a Chinese anti-imperialist Anti-imperialism in political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of pol ...
in 1919, many
anti-imperialist Anti-imperialism in political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between ind ...
Chinese intellectuals sought ways to modernise China as quickly as possible. Traditional culture and values such as
Confucianism , Shanxi Shanxi (; ; Chinese postal romanization, formerly romanised as Shansi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China and is part of the North China region. The capital and largest city of th ...
were challenged and subsequently blamed for their problems. Soon, people in the Movement started to cite the traditional Chinese writing system as an obstacle in modernising China and therefore proposed that a reform be initiated. It was suggested that the Chinese writing system should be either simplified or completely abolished.
Lu Xun Zhou Shuren (25 September 1881 – 19 October 1936), better known by his pen name Lu Xun (or Lu Sun, Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scien ...
, a renowned Chinese author in the 20th century, stated that, "If
Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system. Written language is an invention in that it ...
are not destroyed, then China will die" (). Recent commentators have claimed that Chinese characters were blamed for the economic problems in China during that time. In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the
Kuomintang The Kuomintang (KMT) () is a major political party in Taiwan which originated as a revolutionary political party during the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republican Era on the Chinese mainland, where it is sometimes referred to as the Ch ...
government, and a large number of the intelligentsia maintained that character simplification would help boost literacy in China. In 1935, 324 simplified characters collected by
Qian Xuantong
Qian Xuantong
were officially introduced as the table of first batch of simplified characters, but they were suspended in 1936 due to fierce opposition within the party.


After 1949

Within the PRC, further character simplification became associated with the
leftists Left-wing politics supports social equality Social equality is a state of affairs in which all people within a specific society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social int ...
of the
Cultural Revolution The Cultural Revolution, formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a Political sociology, sociopolitical Social movement, movement in China from 1966 until Mao Zedong's death in 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, Chairman of ...
, culminating with the second-round simplified characters, which were promulgated in 1977. In part due to the shock and unease felt in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and Mao's death, the second round of simplifications was poorly received. In 1986, the authorities retracted the second round completely. Later in the same year, the authorities promulgated a final list of simplifications, which is identical to the 1964 list except for six changes (including the restoration of three characters that had been simplified in the first round: , , ; note that the form is used instead of in regions using Traditional Chinese). In 1965, the PRC published the ''Yinshua tongyong hanzi zixing biao'' ( zh) (''List of commonly used characters for printing''), which included the standardized printing forms of 6196 characters. There had been simplification initiatives aimed at eradicating characters entirely and establishing the
Hanyu Pinyin ''Hanyu Pinyin'' (), often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan and Singapore. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin, w ...

Hanyu Pinyin
romanization as the official written system of the PRC, but the reform never gained quite as much popularity as the leftists had hoped. After the retraction of the second round of simplification, the PRC stated that it wished to keep Chinese orthography stable. Years later in 2009, the Chinese government released a major revision list which included 8,300 characters. No new simplifications were introduced. However, six characters previously listed as "traditional" characters that have been simplified, as well as 51 other "variant" characters, were restored to the standard list. In addition, orthographies (e.g., stroke shape) for 44 characters were proposed to be modified slightly to fit traditional calligraphic rules. Also, the practice of unrestricted simplification of rare and archaic characters by analogy using simplified radicals or components is now discouraged. A State Language Commission official cited "oversimplification" as the reason for restoring some characters. The language authority declared an open comment period until August 31, 2009 for feedback from the public. The proposed orthographic changes to 44 characters were not implemented due to overwhelmingly negative public opinion. The officially promulgated version of the ''
Table of General Standard Chinese Characters The ''Table of General Standard Chinese Characters'' () is the current standard list of 8,105 Chinese characters Chinese characters, also called ''Hanzi'' (), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. They have been adap ...
'', announced in 2013, contained 45 newly recognized standard characters that were previously considered variant forms, as well as official approval of 226 characters that had been simplified by analogy and had seen wide use but were not explicitly given in previous lists or documents.


Singapore and Malaysia

Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
underwent three successive rounds of character simplification, eventually arriving at the same set of simplified characters as
Mainland China Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, China mainland, or the Mainland Area of the Republic of China is the geopolitics, geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC) since Proclamation of ...

Mainland China
. The first round, consisting of 498 Simplified characters from 502 Traditional characters, was promulgated by the
Ministry of Education An education ministry is a national or subnational government agency politically responsible for education. Various other names are commonly used to identify such agencies, such as Ministry of Education, Department of Education, and Ministry of Publ ...
in 1969. The second round, consisting of 2287 Simplified characters, was promulgated in 1974. The second set contained 49 differences from the Mainland China system; those were removed in the final round in 1976. In 1993, Singapore adopted the six revisions made by Mainland China in 1986. However, unlike in mainland China where personal names may only be registered using simplified characters, parents have the option of registering their children's names in traditional characters in Singapore.
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions that are geographically south of C ...

Malaysia
promulgated a set of simplified characters in 1981, which were also completely identical to the simplified characters used in Mainland China. Chinese-language schools use these. Traditional characters are still often seen on shop signs, calligraphy, and some newspapers in both countries.


Hong Kong

A small group called Dou Zi Sei () or Dou Zi Wui () attempted to introduce a special version of simplified characters using romanizations in the 1930s. Today, however, traditional characters remain dominant in Hong Kong.


Japan

After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
, Japan also simplified a number of Chinese characters (''
kanji are a set of from which forms a major part of the alongside with syllabic scripts ' and '. The Japanese term ''kanji'' for the Chinese characters literally means " characters". It is written with the same characters as in to refer to the ...

kanji
'') used in the Japanese language. The new forms are called ''
shinjitai are the simplified forms of kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese language, Japanese syllabic scripts ''hiragana'' and ''katakana''. The Japane ...
''. Compared to Chinese, the Japanese reform was more limited, simplifying only a few hundred characters. Further, the list of simplifications was exhaustive, unlike Chinese simplification – thus analogous simplifications of not explicitly simplified characters ('' extended shinjitai'') are not approved, and instead standard practice is to use the traditional forms. The number of characters in circulation was also reduced, and formal lists of characters to be learned during each grade of school were established. The overall effect was to standardize teaching and the use of kanji in modern literature and media.


Method of simplification

;Structural simplification of characters :All characters simplified this way are enumerated in Chart 1 and Chart 2 in ''Jianhuazi zong biao'' (), "Complete List of Simplified Characters" announced in 1986. : Chart 1 lists all 350 characters that are used by themselves, and can never serve as 'simplified character components'. : Chart 2 lists 132 characters that are used by themselves as well as utilized as simplified character components to further derive other simplified characters. Chart 2 also lists 14 'components' or 'radicals' that cannot be used by themselves, but can be generalized for derivation of more complex characters. ;Derivation based on simplified character components : Chart 3 lists 1,753 characters which are simplified based on the same simplification principles used for character components and radicals in Chart 2. This list is non-exhaustive, so if a character is not already found in Chart 1, 2 or 3, but can be simplified in accordance with Chart 2, the character should be simplified. ;Elimination of variants of the same character : Series One Organization List of Variant Characters accounts for some of the orthography difference between Mainland China on the one hand, and Hong Kong and Taiwan on the other. These are not simplifications of character structures, but rather reduction in number of total standard characters. For each set of variant characters that share the identical pronunciation and meaning, one character (usually the simplest in form) is elevated to the standard character set, and the rest are obsoleted. After rounds of revisions, by 1993, some 1,027 variant characters have been declared obsolete by this list. Amongst the chosen variants, those that appear in the "Complete List of Simplified Characters" are also simplified in character structure accordingly. ;Adoption of new standardized character forms : New standardized character forms originated from the "List of character forms of General Used Chinese characters for Publishing" containing 6,196 characters, published in 1965. The new forms tend to adopt vulgar variant forms for most of its characters. The
List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese The ''List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese'' () is a list of 7,000 commonly used Chinese characters in Chinese language, Chinese. It was created in 1988 in the People's Republic of China. The ''List of Frequently Used Characters in ...
list, published in 1988, contains 7,000 commonly used characters, and replaces the 1965 list. Since the new forms take vulgar variants, many characters now appear slightly simpler compared to old forms, and as such are often mistaken as structurally simplified characters.


Structural simplification of characters

All characters simplified this way are enumerated in Chart 1 and Chart 2 in the Complete List of Simplified Characters. Characters in both charts are structurally simplified based on similar set of principles. They are separated into two charts to clearly mark those in Chart 2 as 'usable as simplified character components', based on which Chart 3 is derived. Merging two or more usually homophonous characters : : → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Using printed forms of
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writin ...
shapes (): : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Replacing a component of a character with a simple arbitrary symbol (such as and ): : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Omitting entire components: : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → 气; etc. Further morphing a character after omitting some components: : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Preserving the basic outline or shape of the original character : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Replacing the phonetic component of phono-semantic compound characters: : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Replacing uncommon phonetic component of a character with a more common one: : → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Replacing entire character with a newly coined phono-semantic compound character: : → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Removing radicals from characters : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Only retaining radicals from characters : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Adopting obscure ancient forms or variants:This is very similar to the 'elimination of variants of the same character' in "Series One Organization List of Variant Characters", except that these eliminations happen in Chart 1 and Chart 2 of "Complete List of Simplified Characters". Characters simplified in Chart 2 can be further used for derivation of Chart 3, but those chosen in "Series One Organization List of Variant Characters" cannot. : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Adopting ancient vulgar variants: : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. Re-adopting abandoned phonetic-loan characters: : → ; → ; → ; etc. Modifying a traditional character to simplify another traditional character: : → ; → ; → ; → etc.


Derivation based on simplified character components

Based on 132 characters and 14 components listed in Chart 2 of the Complete List of Simplified Characters, the 1,753 'derived' characters found in the non-exhaustive Chart 3 can be created by systematically simplifying components using Chart 2 as a conversion table. While exercising such derivation, following rules should be observed: * The "Complete List of Simplified Characters" employs character components, not the traditional definition of
radical Radical may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music *Radical (mixtape), ''Radical'' (mixtape), by Odd Future, 2010 *Radical (Smack album), ''Radical'' (Smack album), 1988 *"Radicals", a song by Tyler, The Creator from the 2011 album ''Goblin (album ...
s. A component refers to any conceivable part of a character, regardless of its position within the character, or its relative size compared to other components in the same character. For instance, in the character , not only is (a traditional radical) considered a component, but so is . ** Each of the 132 ''simplified characters'' in Chart 2, when used as a ''component'' in compound characters, systematically simplify compound characters in exactly the same way the Chart 2 character itself was simplified. For instance, is simplified in Chart 2 to . Based on the same principle, these derivations can be made: → ; → ; → ; etc. ** The 14 ''simplified components'' in Chart 2 are never used alone as individual characters. They only serve as components. Example of derived simplification based on the component , simplified to (), include: → ; → ; → ; etc. * Chart 1 collects 352 simplified characters that ''generally cannot be used as components''. Even in rare cases where a Chart 1 character is found as a component in a compound character, the compound character cannot be simplified in the same way. For instance, is simplified in Chart 1 to , but cannot be simplified to . * A character that is already explicitly listed as simplified character in the "Complete List of Simplified Characters" cannot be alternatively simplified based on derivation. For instance, and are simplified in Chart 1 to and respectively, thus they cannot be simplified alternatively by derivation via and in Chart 2 to and . is simplified in Chart 2 to , thus it cannot be alternatively derived via in Chart 2 as . Sample Derivations: : → (), thus → ; → ; → ; etc. : → , thus → ; → ; → ; etc. : → , thus → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. : → , thus → ; → ; → ; etc. : → , thus → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. : → , thus → ; → ; → ; etc. :


Elimination of variants of the same character

The "Series One Organization List of Variant Characters" reduces the number of total standard characters. First, amongst each set of variant characters sharing identical pronunciation and meaning, one character (usually the simplest in form) is elevated to the standard character set, and the rest are obsoleted. Then amongst the chosen variants, those that appear in the "Complete List of Simplified Characters" are also simplified in character structure accordingly. Some examples follow: Sample reduction of equivalent variants: : → ; → ; → ; → ; → ; → etc. In choosing standard characters, often ancient variants with simple structures are preferred: : → ; → ; → ; etc. Vulgar forms simpler in structure are also chosen: : → ; → ; → ; → ; etc. The chosen variant was already simplified in Chart 1: : → → ; → → ; → → ; → → ; → → ; → → ; etc. In some instance, the chosen variant is actually more complex than eliminated ones. An example is the character which is eliminated in favor of the variant form . Note that the "hand" radical , with three strokes, on the left of the eliminated is now "seen" as more complex, appearing as the "tree" radical , with four strokes, in the chosen variant . Not all characters standardised in the Simplified set consists of fewer strokes. For instance, the traditional character , with 11 strokes is standardised as , with 12 strokes, which is a variant character. Such characters do not constitute simplified characters.


Adoption of new standardized character forms

The new standardized character forms ( ''xīn zìxíng'') started in the ''List of character forms of General Used Chinese characters for Publishing'' and revised through the ''List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese'' tend to adopt vulgar variant character forms. Since the new forms take vulgar variants, many characters now appear slightly simpler compared to old forms, and as such are often mistaken as structurally simplified characters. Some examples follow: The traditional component becomes : : → ; → ; etc. The traditional component becomes : : → ; → ; etc. The traditional "Break" stroke becomes the "Dot" stroke: : → ; → ; etc. The traditional components and become : : → ; → ; etc. The traditional component becomes : : → ; → ; etc.


Inconsistencies

A commonly cited example of the irregularity of simplification involving characters that share the "hand" component , which is used in many simplified characters. While there is an observable pattern involving the replacement of 𦰩 with 又 as seen in → , → , → , → , → , etc., when observing that → , → , → , (not simplified) and (not simplified), an inconsistency arises. This is due to the fact that in the Complete List of Simplified Characters, → appears in Chart 1 while → is listed in Chart 2 and → as a derived character in the non-exhaustive list in Chart 3. Therefore, is defined as a 'simplified character component' according to the standard, while is not. Based on , is simplified to , and to . Since both → and → appear in Chart 1, they are not defined as derived characters. There are therefore no characters or components found in Chart 2 usable for derivation of and . Further investigation reveals that these two characters do not appear in Chart 1 nor in "Series One Organization List of Variant Characters". Thus they remain unchanged from traditional forms in the "List of Commonly Used Characters in Modern Chinese".


Distribution and use

The People's Republic of China and Singapore generally use simplified characters. They appear very sparingly in printed text produced in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas Chinese communities, although they are becoming more prevalent as China opens to the world. Conversely, the mainland is seeing an increase in the use of traditional forms, where they are often used on signs, and in logos, blogs, dictionaries, and scholarly works.


Mainland China

The Law of the People's Republic of China on the National Common Language and Characters implies simplified Chinese as the standard script, with Traditional Chinese being used for purposes such as ceremonies, cultural purposes (e.g. calligraphy), decoration, publications and books on ancient literature and poetry, and research purposes. Traditional Chinese remains ubiquitous on buildings predating the promotion of simplified characters, such as former government buildings, religious buildings, educational institutions, and historical monuments. Traditional Chinese is also often used for commercial purposes, such as shopfront displays and advertisements. As part of the
one country, two systems "One country, two systems" is a constitutional principle of the People's Republic of China describing the governance of Hong Kong Hong Kong (, ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China ...
model, the PRC has not attempted to force Hong Kong or Macau into using simplified characters. The PRC tends to print material intended for people in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese in Traditional characters. For example, it prints versions of the ''
People's Daily The ''People's Daily'' () is the largest newspaper group in China. The paper is an official newspaper of the Central Committee Central committee is the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties A communist ...
'' in Traditional characters and both the ''People's Daily'' and
Xinhua Xinhua News Agency (English pronunciation: )J. C. Wells: Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, 3rd ed., for both British and American English, or New China News Agency, is the official State media, state press agency of the China, People's Republi ...

Xinhua
websites have versions in Traditional characters using
Big5 Big-5 or Big5 is a Chinese character encoding method used in Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populou ...

Big5
encoding. Mainland companies selling products in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan use Traditional characters on their displays and packaging to communicate with consumers (the reverse is true as well).
Dictionaries A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer ...
published in mainland China generally show both simplified and their Traditional counterparts. In digital media, many cultural phenomena imported from Hong Kong and Taiwan into mainland China, such as music videos,
karaoke Karaoke (; ; , clipped compoundIn linguistics, a clipped compound is a word produced from a compound word by reducing its parts while retaining the meaning of the original compound.Elisa Mattiello, "An Introduction to English Slang: A Descriptio ...

karaoke
videos,
subtitled Subtitles are text Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory) Text may refer to: Written word * Text (literary theory), any object that can be read, including: **Religious text, a writing that a religious tradition considers ...
movies, and subtitled dramas, use Traditional Chinese characters.


Hong Kong

Textbooks, official statements, newspapers, including the PRC-funded media, show no signs of moving to simplified Chinese characters. However, some students may opt to use the simplified form when taking notes or doing test papers to write faster. It is common for Hong Kong people to learn traditional Chinese characters in school, and some simplified Chinese in passing (either through reading mainland-published books or other media). For use on computers, however, people tend to type Chinese characters using a traditional character set such as Big5. In Hong Kong, as well as elsewhere, it is common for people who use both sets to do so because it is much easier to convert from the traditional character set to the simplified character set because of the usage of the aforementioned methods 8 and 9 of simplification.


Taiwan

Simplified Chinese characters are not officially used in governmental and civil publications in Taiwan. However, it is legal to import simplified character publications and distribute them. Certain simplified characters that have long existed in informal writing for centuries also have popular usage, while those characters simplified originally by the Taiwanese government are much less common in daily appearance. In all areas, most handwritten text will include informal simplifications (alternative script) which are not the same as the simplifications officially promulgated by the PRC and are often instead influenced by the ''shinjitai'' used in Japan. The informal simplification of the first character of "Taiwan" from to rivals its orthodox form in commonality, even in print and in answers to school exams. This character is also used in the names of
Taipei Taipei (), officially Taipei City, is the Capital city, capital and a Special municipality (Taiwan), special municipality of the Taiwan, Republic of China (Taiwan). Located in Regions of Taiwan, Northern Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of t ...

Taipei
in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
and
Sendai is the capital city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defin ...
in
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
, even though their respective governments do not officially use simplified characters. This is because the adoption of simplified characters has been gradual and predates the
Chinese Civil War The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led Nationalist government, government of the Republic of China (1912–1949), Republic of China (ROC) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC) lastin ...
by several decades and some are used beyond mainland China to some extent.


Singapore and Malaysia

In Singapore, where Mandarin Chinese is one of the official languages, simplified characters are the official standard and are generally used in all official publications as well as the government-controlled press. While simplified characters are taught exclusively in schools and are generally used in all official publications, the government does not officially discourage the use of traditional characters and still allow parents to choose whether to have their child's Chinese name registered in simplified or traditional characters. Furthermore, traditional characters are widely used by older generations and are widespread on signboards, stall menus, decorations, etc. In Malaysia, Chinese is not an official language, but over 90% of ethnic-Chinese students are educated in Chinese schools, which have taught simplified characters since 1981. Likewise, traditional characters are also widely used by older generations and are widespread on signboards, etc., albeit more common than in Singapore. Most of Malaysia's Chinese newspapers compromise by retaining traditional characters in article headlines but using simplified characters for content. As there is no restriction of the use of traditional characters in the mass media, television programmes, books, magazines and music CD's that have been imported from Hong Kong or Taiwan are widely available, and these almost always use traditional characters. Most karaoke discs, being imported from Hong Kong or Taiwan, have song lyrics in traditional characters as well. Many shop signs continue to be written in traditional characters. Menus in
hawker centre A hawker centre or cooked food centre is an open-air complex commonly found in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. They were built to provide a more sanitary alternative to mobile hawker carts and contain many stalls that sells different variet ...

hawker centre
s and coffee shops are also commonly seen in traditional characters.


Education

In general, schools in Mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore use simplified characters exclusively, while schools in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan use traditional characters exclusively. Today, simplified Chinese characters predominate among college and university programs teaching Chinese as a foreign language outside of China, such as those in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
.


Mainland China

In December 2004, Ministry of education authorities rejected a proposal from a Beijing
CPPCC The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC, zh, 中国人民政治协商会议), also known as the People's PCC (, ) or simply the PCC (), is a political advisory body in the People's Republic of China China, officiall ...

CPPCC
political conference member that called for elementary schools to teach traditional Chinese characters in addition to the simplified ones. The conference member pointed out that many, especially young people, have difficulties with traditional Chinese characters; this is especially important in dealing with non-mainland communities such as Taiwan and Hong Kong. The educational authorities did not approve the recommendation, saying that it did not fit in with the "requirements as set out by the law" and it could potentially complicate the curricula. A similar proposal was delivered to the 1st Plenary Session of the 11th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in March 2008.


Hong Kong

Most, if not all, Chinese language text books in Hong Kong are written in traditional characters. Before 1997, the use of simplified characters was generally discouraged by educators. After 1997, while students are still expected to be proficient and utilize traditional characters in formal settings, they may sometimes adopt a hybrid written form in informal settings to speed up writing. With the exception of open examinations, simplified Chinese characters are considered acceptable by the
Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA), previously known as the Hong Kong Examinations Authority (HKEA), is a statutory body of the Government of Hong Kong The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regi ...
for their speed.


Singapore and Malaysia

Chinese textbooks in Singapore and Malaysia are written exclusively in simplified characters, and only simplified characters are taught in school. Traditional characters are usually only taught to those taking up calligraphy as a co-curricular activity or Cantonese as an elective course at school.


Chinese as a foreign language

As the source of many
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
textbooks is mainland China, the majority of textbooks teaching Chinese are now based on simplified characters and Hanyu Pinyin – although there are textbooks originating in China which have a traditional version. For practical reasons, universities and schools prepare students who will be able to communicate with mainland China, so their obvious choice is to use simplified characters. In places where a particular set is not locally entrenched, e.g., Europe and the United States, instruction is now mostly simplified, as the economic importance of mainland China increases, and also because of the availability of textbooks printed in mainland China. Teachers of international students often recommend learning both systems.


Europe

In the United Kingdom, universities mainly teach Mandarin Chinese at the undergraduate level using the simplified characters coupled with pinyin. However, they will require the students to learn or be able to recognise the traditional forms if they are studying in Taiwan or Hong Kong (such as taking Cantonese courses). In Australia and New Zealand, schools, universities and
TAFE In Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of ...
s use predominantly simplified characters. Russia and most East European nations are traditionally oriented on the education of the PRC's system for teaching Chinese, which uses simplified characters but exposes the learners to both systems.


East Asia

In
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A cou ...

South Korea
, universities have used predominantly simplified characters since 1990s. In high school, Chinese is one of the selective subjects. By the regulation of the national curricula standards, MPS I and traditional characters had been originally used before (since the 1940s), but by the change of regulation, pinyin and simplified characters have been used to pupils who enter the school in 1996 or later. Therefore, MPS I and traditional characters disappeared after 1998 in South Korean high school Chinese curriculum. In Japan there are two types of schools. Simplified Chinese is taught instead of traditional Chinese in pro-mainland China schools. They also teach Pinyin, a romanization system for standard Chinese, while the Taiwan-oriented schools teach
Zhuyin Zhuyin () or Mandarin Phonetic Symbols, also nicknamed Bopomofo, is a major Chinese transliteration system for Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of no ...

Zhuyin
, which uses phonetic symbols. However, the Taiwan-oriented schools are starting to teach simplified Chinese and Pinyin to offer a more well-rounded education.


Southeast Asia

In the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, the use of simplified characters is getting more and more popular. Before the 1970s, Chinese schools in the Philippines were under the supervision of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China. Hence, most books were using the Traditional Characters. Traditional Characters remained prevalent until the early 2000s. However, institutions like the
Confucius Institute Confucius Institutes (CI; ) are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries; the partnerships are funded and arranged in part by Hanban which is itself affiliated ...
, being the cultural arm of the People's Republic of China, are strong proponents of the use of Simplified Characters. Also, many new schools are now importing their Mandarin textbooks from Singapore instead of Taiwan. Public universities such as the Linguistics and Asian Languages Department of the
University of the Philippines The University of the Philippines (UP; Filipino language, Filipino: ''Pamantasan ng Pilipinas'' or ''Unibersidad'' ''ng Pilipinas'') is a Higher education in the Philippines#State universities and colleges, state university system in the Philippi ...
use Simplified Characters in their teaching materials. On the other hand, private schools such as
Chiang Kai Shek College Chiang Kai-shek College () is a Chinese Filipino institution of higher learning founded by Chinese Filipinos, recognized by the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The school offers programs in the P ...
and Saint Jude Catholic School remain major proponents of the usage of Traditional Characters. However, some private universities, such as the
Ateneo de Manila University The Ateneo de Manila University (Filipino Filipino may refer to: * Something from or related to the Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas or ''Filipinas'' ), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipi ...
, now use Simplified Characters.


Computer encoding and fonts

In computer text applications, the GB encoding scheme most often renders simplified Chinese characters, while Big5 most often renders traditional characters. Although neither encoding has an explicit connection with a specific character set, the lack of a one-to-one mapping between the simplified and traditional sets established a de facto linkage. Since simplified Chinese conflated many characters into one and since the initial version of the GB encoding scheme, known as
GB2312 is a key official character set Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to Graphics, graphical character (computing), characters, especially the written characters of Language, human language, allowing them to be Data storage, s ...
-80, contained only one code point for each character, it is impossible to use GB2312 to map to the bigger set of traditional characters. It is theoretically possible to use Big5 code to map to the smaller set of simplified character glyphs, although there is little market for such a product. Newer and alternative forms of GB have support for traditional characters. In particular, mainland authorities have now established
GB 18030 GB 18030 is a Guobiao standards, Chinese government standard, described as ''Information Technology — Chinese coded character set'' and defines the required language and character support necessary for software in China. GB18030 is the regi ...
as the official encoding standard for use in all mainland software publications. The encoding contains all
East Asian East Asia is the eastern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and ...
characters included in
Unicode Unicode, formally the Unicode Standard, is an information technology Technical standard, standard for the consistent character encoding, encoding, representation, and handling of Character (computing), text expressed in most of the world's wri ...

Unicode
3.0. As such, GB 18030 encoding contains both simplified and traditional characters found in Big-5 and GB, as well as all characters found in
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...
and
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Chosŏn'gŭl **Korean dialects and the Jeju language **S ...
encodings. Unicode deals with the issue of simplified and traditional characters as part of the project of
Han unification Han unification is an effort by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the Han characters of the so-called CJK characters, CJK languages into a single set of unified grapheme, characters. Han ch ...
by including code points for each. This was rendered necessary by the fact that the linkage between simplified characters and traditional characters is not one-to-one. While this means that a Unicode system can display both simplified and traditional characters, it also means that different
localization Localization or localisation may refer to: Biology * Localization of function, locating psychological functions in the brain or nervous system; see Linguistic intelligence * Localization of sensation, ability to tell what part of the body is a ...
files are needed for each type. The Chinese characters used in modern Japanese (called Kanji characters) have also undergone simplification, but generally to a lesser extent than with simplified Chinese. It is worth mentioning that Japan's writing system utilizes a reduced number of Chinese characters in daily use, resulting partly from the Japanese language reforms; thus, a number of complex characters are written phonetically. Reconciling these different character sets in Unicode became part of the controversial process of Han unification. Not surprisingly, some of the Chinese characters used in Japan are neither 'traditional' nor 'simplified'. In this case, these characters cannot be found in traditional/simplified Chinese dictionaries. In font filenames and descriptions the acronym SC is used to signify the use of Simplified Chinese characters to differentiate fonts that use TC for
traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters are one type of standard Chinese characters, Chinese character sets of the contemporary written Chinese. The traditional characters had taken shapes since the libian, clerical change and mostly remained in the sa ...
.


Web pages

The
World Wide Web Consortium The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary ...
's Internationalization working group recommends the use of the language tag as a language attribute value and Content-Language value to specify web-page content in simplified Chinese characters.


Criticism

There are ongoing disputes among users of Chinese characters related to the introduction of simplified Chinese characters. Author Liu Shahe was an outspoken critic of the simplification of Chinese characters. He wrote a dedicated column entitled "Simplified Characters are Unreasonable" (简化字不讲理) in the Chinese edition of the ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a daily newspaper printed in broadsheet and published digitally that focuses on business and economic Current affairs (news format), current affairs. Based in London, England, the paper is owned by a Japanese ...
''. Traditional Chinese supporters may refer to simplified Chinese as 殘體字 (cántǐzì - crippled characters).


See also

* Ambiguities in Chinese character simplification * Chinese Character Simplification Scheme * Debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters *
Ryakuji In Japanese language, ''Ryakuji'' ( ja, 略字 "abbreviated characters", or ''hissha ryakuji'', meaning "handwritten abbreviated characters") are colloquial simplifications of kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are ...

Ryakuji
* Xin Zixing *
Shinjitai are the simplified forms of kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese language, Japanese syllabic scripts ''hiragana'' and ''katakana''. The Japane ...
( or  – Japanese simplified characters) *
Differences between Shinjitai and Simplified characters Differences between Shinjitai and Simplified characters in the Japanese and Chinese languages exist. List of different simplifications The old and new forms of the Kyōiku Kanji and their Hànzì equivalents are listed below. In the following l ...
*
Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters are one type of standard Chinese character Chinese characters, also called ''hanzi'' (), are logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural la ...


Notes and references


Further reading

* * *


External links

*
Andrew WestAndrew or Andy West may refer to: * Andrew West (linguist) (born 1960), English linguist * Andrew West (pianist) (born 1979), English pianist * Andrew Fleming West (1853–1943), American classicist and academic administrator * Andrew J. West (born ...

Proposal to Encode Obsolete Simplified Chinese Characters

Stroke Order Animation and Dictionary of Simplified Chinese Characters

Simplified to Traditional Chinese Conversion Table
{{DEFAULTSORT:Simplified Chinese Characters Chinese language Spelling reform, Chinese