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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 language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...
sets of the contemporary
written Chinese Written Chinese () comprises 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 sy ...

written Chinese
. The traditional characters had taken shapes since the clerical change and mostly remained in the same structure they took at the introduction of the
regular script Regular script (; Hepburn: ''kaisho''), also called (), (''zhēnshū''), (''kǎitǐ'') and (''zhèngshū''), is the newest of the Chinese script styles In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major st ...
in the 2nd century. Over the following centuries, traditional characters were regarded as the standard form of printed Chinese characters or
literary Chinese Classical Chinese, also known as Literary Chinese (古文 ''gǔwén'' "ancient text", or 文言 ''wényán'' "text speak"; modern vernacular: 文言文 ''wényánwén'' "text speak text"), is the language of the classic literature from the en ...
throughout the Sinosphere until the middle of the 20th century, before different script reforms initiated by countries using Chinese characters as a writing system. Traditional Chinese characters remain in common use 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
,
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
, as well as in most
overseas Chinese Overseas Chinese () refers to people of 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 List of countries and dependencies by popula ...

overseas Chinese
communities outside Southeast Asia; in addition,
Hanja Hanja (; Hanja: , , or Hancha) is the 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 ...

Hanja
in
Korean language Korean ( , ''hangugeo''; , ''chosŏnmal'') is an East Asian language spoken by about 80 million people, mainly Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * K ...
remains virtually identical to traditional characters, which is still used to a certain extent in
South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
, despite differing standards used among these countries over some
variant Chinese characters Variant Chinese characters (; Kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, in ...
. In Taiwan, the standardisation of traditional characters is stipulated through the promulgation of the
Standard Form of National Characters The ''Standard Form of National Characters'' or the ''Standard Typefaces for Chinese Characters'' () is the standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A technical standard is ...
, which is regulated by Taiwan's Ministry of Education. In contrast, simplified Chinese characters are used in Mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore in official publications. The debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters has been a long-running issue among Chinese communities. Currently, many Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between both character sets.


History

The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the
clerical script The clerical script (; Japanese: 隷書体, ''reishotai''; Vietnamese: lệ thư), also formerly chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval of ...
during the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the
Southern and Northern Dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
). The
retronym A retronym is a newer name for an existing thing that helps differentiate the original form/version from a more recent one. It is thus a word or phrase created to avoid confusion between older and newer types, whereas previously (before there were ...
"Traditional Chinese" is used to contrast traditional characters with "simplified Chinese characters", a standardized character set introduced in the 1950s by the government of the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), 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 ...

People's Republic of China
on
Mainland China The term "mainland China" refers to the area directly governed by 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 ...

Mainland China
.


Modern usage in Chinese-speaking areas


Mainland China

Although simplified characters are endorsed by the government of
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), 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 ...

China
and taught in schools, there is no prohibition against using traditional characters. Traditional characters are used informally, primarily in handwriting, but also for inscriptions and religious text. They are often retained in logos or graphics to evoke yesteryear. Nonetheless, the vast majority of media and communications in China use simplified characters.


Hong Kong and Macau

In
Hong Kong Hong Kong (; , ), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR), is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Pe ...

Hong Kong
and
Macau Macau or Macao (; ; ; ), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR), (RAEM) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. Lond ...

Macau
, Traditional Chinese has been the legal written form since colonial times. In recent years, however, simplified Chinese characters are used to accommodate Mainland Chinese tourists and immigrants. The use of simplified characters has led to residents being concerned about protecting their local heritage.


Taiwan

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
has never adopted simplified characters. The use of simplified characters in government documents and educational settings is prohibited or discouraged by the government of Taiwan. Nevertheless, simplified characters (簡體字) usually can be understood by an educated Taiwanese person, as it may take little effort to learn them. Some writing stroke simplifications have long been in folk handwriting from the ancient time, existing as an informal variant form ( 俗字) of the traditional characters.


Philippines

The
Chinese Filipino Chinese Filipinos; tl, Tsinoy, / Pilipinong Tsino, ; Philippine Hokkien Philippine Hokkien is a dialect of the Hokkien Hokkien () is a Southern Min Southern Min (), Minnan (Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat) ...

Chinese Filipino
community continues to be one of the most conservative in Southeast Asia regarding simplification. Although major public universities teach simplified characters, many well-established Chinese schools still use traditional characters. Publications such as the ''
Chinese Commercial News The ''Chinese Commercial News'' (, lit. "Philippine Commercial News"), colloquially called the ''Commercial News'' or ''Siong Po'' (, ''Commercial News'' in Hokkien Hokkien (; , Pe̍h-ōe-jī: ''Hok-kiàn-ōe'', ) or Minnan (閩南語/闽南语) ...
'', ''
World News World news or international news or even foreign coverage is the news media jargon for news from abroad, about a country or a global subject. For journalism, it is a branch that deals with news either sent by foreign correspondents or news agency, ...
'', and ''
United Daily News ''United Daily News'' (UDN; ) is a newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspap ...
'' all use traditional characters. So do some magazines from Hong Kong, such as the ''
Yazhou Zhoukan ''Yazhou Zhoukan'' () is a Chinese-language international affairs newsweekly. It was launched in 1987 by Michael O'Niell as a sister magazine to ''Asiaweek ''Asiaweek'' was an English-language news magazine A news magazine is a typed, pr ...
''. On the other hand, the ''Philippine Chinese Daily'' uses simplified characters. DVD subtitles for film or television mostly use traditional Characters, that subtitling being influenced by Taiwanese usage and by both countries being within the same DVD region, 3.


United States

Having immigrated to the United States during the second half of the 19th century, well before the institution of simplified characters, Chinese-Americans have long used traditional characters. Therefore, US public notices and signage in Chinese are generally in traditional Chinese.See, for instance, https://www.irs.gov/irm/part22/irm_22-031-001.html ( Internal Revenue Manual 22.31.1.6.3 – "The standard language for translation is Traditional Chinese."


Nomenclature

Traditional Chinese characters are known by different names within the Chinese-speaking world. The government of Taiwan officially calls traditional Chinese characters ''standard characters'' or ''orthodox characters'' (). However, the same term is used outside Taiwan to distinguish standard, simplified, ''and'' traditional characters from variant and idiomatic characters. In contrast, users of traditional characters outside Taiwan—such as those in Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas Chinese communities, and also users of simplified Chinese characters—call the traditional characters ''complex characters'' (), ''old characters'' (), or ''full Chinese characters'' () to distinguish them from simplified Chinese characters. Some users of traditional characters argue that traditional characters are the original form of the Chinese characters and cannot be called "complex". Similarly, they argue that simplified characters cannot be called "standard" because they are not used in all Chinese-speaking regions. Conversely, supporters of simplified Chinese characters object to the description of traditional characters as "standard", since they view the new simplified characters as the contemporary standard used by the vast majority of Chinese speakers. They also point out that traditional characters are not truly traditional, as many Chinese characters have been made more elaborate over time. Some people refer to traditional characters as simply ''proper characters'' ( or ) and to simplified characters as "simplified-stroke characters" () or "reduced-stroke characters" () (''simplified-'' and ''reduced-'' are actually homophones in
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more ...
, both pronounced ''jiǎn'').


Printed text

When printing text, people in mainland China and Singapore use the simplified system. In writing, most people use informal, sometimes personal simplifications. In most cases, an alternative character () will be used in place of one with more strokes, such as for . In the old days, there were two main uses for alternative characters. First, alternative characters were used to name an important person in less formal contexts, reserving traditional characters for use in formal contexts, as a sign of respect, an instance of what is called " offence-avoidance" () in Chinese. Secondly, alternative characters were used when the same characters were repeated in context to show that the repetition was intentional rather than a mistake ().


Computer encoding and fonts

In the past, Traditional Chinese was most often rendered using the
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
character encoding scheme, a scheme that favours Traditional Chinese. However,
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
, which gives equal weight to both simplified and traditional Chinese characters, has become increasingly popular as a rendering method. There are various IMEs (Input Method Editors) available to input Chinese characters. There are still many Unicode characters that cannot be written using most IMEs, one example being the character used in the Shanghainese dialect instead of , which is U+20C8E ( with a
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 ...
). In font filenames and descriptions, the acronym TC is used to signify the use of traditional Chinese characters to differentiate fonts that use SC for
Simplified Chinese characters 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 ...
.


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 ...
recommends the use of the language tag as a language attribute and Content-Language value to specify web-page content in Traditional Chinese.


Usage in other languages

In
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to 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 ...

Japanese
, ''
kyūjitai are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese characters, Chinese written characters used in Japanese language, Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai (), "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago ...
'' is the now-obsolete, non-simplified form of simplified (''
shinjitai are the simplified forms of kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...
'') ''
Jōyō kanji The is the guide to kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including ...
''. These non-simplified characters are mostly congruent with the traditional characters in Chinese, save for a few minor regional graphical differences. Furthermore, characters that are not included in the Jōyō list are generally recommended to be printed in their original non-simplified forms, save for a few exceptions. In
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 ...
, traditional
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 A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, ...
are identical with ''
Hanja Hanja (; Hanja: , , or Hancha) is the 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 ...

Hanja
'' (now almost completely replaced by ''
Hangul The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, . Hangul may also be written as following South Korea's standard Romanization. in South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the ...

Hangul
'' for general use in most cases, but nonetheless unchanged from Chinese except for some Korean-made Hanja). Traditional Chinese characters are also used by non-Chinese ethnic groups, especially the
Maniq people The Maniq or Mani are an ethnic group of Thailand. They are more widely known in Thailand as the ''Sakai'' ( th, ซาไก), a controversial derogatory term meaning 'slave' or 'barbarism'. They are the only Negrito group in Thailand and speak a ...
—of southern
Yala Province Yala ( th, ยะลา, ) is the southernmost Provinces of Thailand, province (''changwat'') of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from northwest clockwise) Songkhla Province, Songkhla, Pattani Province, Pattani, and Narathiwat Province, Narath ...
of
Thailand Thailand ( th, ประเทศไทย), historically known as Siam, () officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia. It is located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , wi ...

Thailand
and northeastern
Kedah Kedah (; JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Australian Aboriginal people of the Kimberley coast of Western Australia, who speak or spoke th ...
state of
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
—for writing the
Kensiu language Kensiu (Kensiw) is an Austro-Asiatic languages, Austro-Asiatic language of the Jahaic languages, Jahaic (Northern Aslian languages, Aslian) subbranch. It is spoken by a small community of 300 in Yala Province in southern Thailand and also reported ...
.


See also

*
Simplified Chinese characters 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 ...
* Debate on traditional and simplified Chinese characters *
Chữ Nôm Chữ Nôm (, , literally 'Southern characters') is a logographic writing system formerly used to write the Vietnamese language. It uses borrowed Chinese characters to represent Sino-Vietnamese vocabulary and some native Vietnamese words, while n ...
*
Hanja Hanja (; Hanja: , , or Hancha) is the 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 ...

Hanja
*
Kaishu Regular script (; Hepburn: ''kaisho''), also called (), (''zhēnshū''), (''kǎitǐ'') and (''zhèngshū''), is the newest of the Chinese script styles In Chinese calligraphy, Chinese characters can be written according to five major st ...

Kaishu
*
Kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

Kanji
*
Kyūjitai are the traditional forms of kanji, Chinese characters, Chinese written characters used in Japanese language, Japanese. Their simplified counterparts are shinjitai (), "new character forms". Some of the simplified characters arose centuries ago ...
( or – Japanese traditional characters) * Multiple association of converting Simplified Chinese to Traditional Chinese


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Traditional Chinese Characters Chinese characters