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What Does the Chinese "Simplified" Mean?

Does that mean it is not the Chinese that is spoken by natives, but somehow a simplified form or with more simple characters?

November 25, 2017



Simplified Chinese is used in mainland China, promoted by the government 70 years ago to encourage literacy. More info at Wiki, o/c ;)


Also in Singapore :)


Yes, Singapore... and worldwide..., Chinese people are everywhere now. I was just pointing the main info from Wiki. 1411M people in China vs 5.7M in Singapore...


Simplified characters, used in mainland China, Singapore and a few other places.


A lot of natives use simplified! I should know because my mom is a native who uses simplified. Simplified basically makes life easier because they're easier to remember and easier to write. But some people like to use traditional because it's the first Chinese ever made and they think the characters are prettier. Go figure. It's really your choice whether to use simplified or traditional, simplified is easier and traditional is more artistic. Hope this helps. :D

  • 1653

"Simplified" refers to the script, not to the spoken language. Each simplified character has a traditional equivalent, it's just easier to write and remember. In mainland China and Singapore they use the simplified script, in Taiwan and Hong Kong they keep to the traditional one.

The simplified characters basically fall into three groups: (a) radicals are closer to the cursive script; (b) too complicated part of a compound character replaced by much simpler homophone or cursive element, and (c) a (not so big) bunch of quite different characters which are to be remembered.


It is only the matter of writing, spoken Chinese is independent of how it's written.

The government of the People's Republic of China, in order to increase literacy rates in the country, decided in the 1950s to simplify tons of characters to make them easier to write and easier to distinguish in print. Most changes were pretty regular and you can recognise the patterns after a while, some changes were more random. More frequent and more complex a character, higher chance it got simplified. Examples here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simplified_Chinese_characters#Method_of_simplification

Some characters that were different before the reform were simplified to identical characters afterwards, so you may say that there are fewer characters in Simplified Chinese script than in the Traditional Chinese script, but they are a small minority and the difference in number is quite small: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiguities_in_Chinese_character_simplification

Since the Chinese speakers in Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore and the Chinese diaspora lived outside PRC when the reform happened, they use the original, Traditional script.

It's not that hard for someone who knows one of the scripts to learn the other, but it's not trivial.


So even though it is simplified, it is the real Chinese used by everyone in mainland China?


It's the character set used for Mandarin Chinese in mainland China. Other varieties of Chinese may use different character sets.


By some people, but not everyone.


There are two versions of the Chinese writing system, Traditional and Simplified. Traditional is completely gone now except on the island of Taiwan. The mainland Chinese and Chinese learners world wide use the Simplified system now.


Hong Kong and Macau use traditional, as well.

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