Simplified Chinese ?

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lavengro
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Simplified Chinese ?

Postby lavengro » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:47 pm

My apology if this has been taken up elsewhere already on the forum, but if you knew me at all (and none of you do, as I hide behind a fake name) you would know that I am a wickedly-lazy fellow (or woman, who knows? or I may be a collective of roughly-like minded individuals, or less likely, I may just be a figment of my own imagination or of the haunted imagination of my pet Siegerd) and that I can’t actually be bothered to search for myself.

Anyways, I/we digress….

I see references to “Simplified Chinese” increasingly in Canada. Is this just a reference to a simplified set of hanzi (I assume in Mandarin?), or are there broader differences between say traditional Mandarin, Simplified Chinese, and other forms of Chinese language? I read a reference to there being more differences than just in the characters themselves. The latest reference I have seen recently to Simplified Chinese is in a municipal poll in Vancouver (where portions of the Lavengro Collective currently are living illegally in a bivouac structure in a tree, tell no one) relating to single-use plastics. Vancouver has a significant population of people from Hong Kong (I assume Cantonese speakers given the period of time over which significant Hong Kong immigration occured), Taiwan (Taiwanese speakers?) and from mainland China (I assume Mandarin speakers).

Mostly just idle curiosity on my part at this point, as I don’t know and am not learning any Chinese language. But my attention is always drawn to anything that suggests simple stuff…..
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Axon » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:48 pm

Simplified Chinese is, on the face of it, a new character set with several thousand characters having undergone simplification in the 1950s based on previous handwritten forms. People were already simplifying the characters when writing them down, so the PRC made many of those official. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau use traditional forms. Singapore invented their own new set of simplified characters in the 1960s, confusing everybody, and then switched over to the character set used in the PRC.

You can write Standard Mandarin in either simplified or traditional characters with no difference in meaning. It is trivial for computers to convert traditional characters to simplified, but harder to go the other way because sometimes two traditional characters map to a single simplified character.

Cantonese and Taiwanese are mostly oral languages. When they are written, it is almost always in traditional characters or Romanization. The exceptions would be informal writing in the PRC or textbooks from the PRC teaching these languages. I have a textbook for Cantonese and it's all in simplified characters.

Sometimes people use traditional or simplified characters to show their political affiliation or sympathy to one or another political entity. Many overseas Chinese dislike simplified characters on aesthetic grounds.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Speakeasy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:58 pm

Axon wrote:Simplified Chinese is, on the face of it, a new character set with several thousand characters having undergone simplification in the 1950s based on previous handwritten forms. People were already simplifying the characters when writing them down, …
About forty years ago, as I had at the time a serious plan of moving to Hong Kong, I completed the first volume of the FSI Basic Cantonese course. However, life being what it is, I was forced to push this casserole to the back burner where it cooled and the ingredients, for want of sufficient attention, spoiled.

Although I never did return to the study of Chinese (so many languages, so little time), I never lost my fascination for the language, for the Chinese culture, and even for some on-the-surface eccentric stories which are deeply related to the history of Chinese. Thomas S. Mullaney, in is recently-published book, “The Chinese Typewriter: A History”, touches upon the efforts at simplifying Chinese characters.

The Chinese Typewriter A History, by Thomas S. Mullaney - LLORG – October 2018
https://forum.language-learners.org/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9190

I refused to feel the injury of my wife’s comment that “only a nerd” would be interested in this book. In fact, I chose to bear the affront as a badge of honour!

EDITED:
Typos, as always.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Inst » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:45 am

What you might be more looking for is the difference between Guoyu (Taiwanese Mandarin) and Putonghua (Mainland Mandarin). This is not a subject I'm too familiar with, but Simplified usually implies Putonghua norms, while Traditional implies Guoyu norms.

As an additional point of curiosity, Modern Japanese also uses its own simplified character set for Kanji, but it often chooses different simplifications than Mainland Simplified Chinese and has less simplifications, alongside Chinese characters of Japanese origin that may not be seen in Chinese proper.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby mouse » Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:49 pm

Inst wrote:What you might be more looking for is the difference between Guoyu (Taiwanese Mandarin) and Putonghua (Mainland Mandarin).


This is not right. Guoyu and Putonghua are different words for the same thing: the Mandarin language. These words have little to do with writing systems. You can use either simplified or traditional characters to write any Chinese language, such as Cantonese or Hokkien. And Chinese characters are older than Mandarin.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Inst » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:25 pm

mouse wrote:
Inst wrote:What you might be more looking for is the difference between Guoyu (Taiwanese Mandarin) and Putonghua (Mainland Mandarin).


This is not right. Guoyu and Putonghua are different words for the same thing: the Mandarin language. These words have little to do with writing systems. You can use either simplified or traditional characters to write any Chinese language, such as Cantonese or Hokkien. And Chinese characters are older than Mandarin.


Taiwanese and Mainland Mandarin are dialects of each other, in the proper (not Sinolect / Topolect) term. Pronunciation varies, as well as word choice and sometimes semantics. Think British English vs American English; pronunciation varies.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby mouse » Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:14 pm

Inst wrote:
mouse wrote:
Inst wrote:What you might be more looking for is the difference between Guoyu (Taiwanese Mandarin) and Putonghua (Mainland Mandarin).


This is not right. Guoyu and Putonghua are different words for the same thing: the Mandarin language. These words have little to do with writing systems. You can use either simplified or traditional characters to write any Chinese language, such as Cantonese or Hokkien. And Chinese characters are older than Mandarin.


Taiwanese and Mainland Mandarin are dialects of each other, in the proper (not Sinolect / Topolect) term. Pronunciation varies, as well as word choice and sometimes semantics. Think British English vs American English; pronunciation varies.


I know what they are. The claim was that the difference between simplified and traditional Chinese scripts are mapped onto the differences between Mainland and Taiwanese Mandarin, that "Simplified usually implies Putonghua norms, while Traditional implies Guoyu norms". But this claim is misleading. A dialogue between two speakers of Taiwanese Mandarin can be written in the simplified Chinese script and vice versa. This happens all the time with films and TV shows made in one region and broadcast in the other. But more importantly, the traditional Chinese script is not exclusively used to write Mandarin.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:37 pm

Just expanding on the differences between Simplified Chinese and Japanese New Character Forms

Simplified Chinese is a much more systematic approach than Japanese New Character Forms.

Over 90% of characters are phono-semantic compounds. This means that the character contains 2 hints-- a semantic hint about the meaning of the character, and a phonetic hint about how the character sounds.

Simplified Chinese applies simplifications, mainly derived from handwriting, to both sets of radicals.

Japanese New Character Forms overwhelmingly target only the phonetic component of a character, and leave the semantic component alone.

In terms of Japanese handwriting, more extensive simplifications which are not standardized come in to play. Some of them are graphical simplifications based on cursive forms and can resemble Simplified Chinese a lot more than standard Japanese characters do. Some of them are like Japanese New Character forms, and just replace the phonetic component of a character with something even more easy to write (usually a katakana letter or even Latin letters in the most hilarious examples)

A lot of these non-standard simplifications are dying out in Japan because of computers.
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Inst » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:17 pm

mouse wrote:
Inst wrote:
mouse wrote:
Inst wrote:What you might be more looking for is the difference between Guoyu (Taiwanese Mandarin) and Putonghua (Mainland Mandarin).


This is not right. Guoyu and Putonghua are different words for the same thing: the Mandarin language. These words have little to do with writing systems. You can use either simplified or traditional characters to write any Chinese language, such as Cantonese or Hokkien. And Chinese characters are older than Mandarin.


Taiwanese and Mainland Mandarin are dialects of each other, in the proper (not Sinolect / Topolect) term. Pronunciation varies, as well as word choice and sometimes semantics. Think British English vs American English; pronunciation varies.


I know what they are. The claim was that the difference between simplified and traditional Chinese scripts are mapped onto the differences between Mainland and Taiwanese Mandarin, that "Simplified usually implies Putonghua norms, while Traditional implies Guoyu norms". But this claim is misleading. A dialogue between two speakers of Taiwanese Mandarin can be written in the simplified Chinese script and vice versa. This happens all the time with films and TV shows made in one region and broadcast in the other. But more importantly, the traditional Chinese script is not exclusively used to write Mandarin.


Correct, just as a British novel can be Americanized with American spellings and grammatical norms. I am just pointing out the correlation between traditional (usually used in places where Taiwanese Mandarin is standard) and simplified (usually used in places where Mainland Mandarin is standard, although you can see that Hong Kong and Singapore have moved from Traditional to Simplified).
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Re: Simplified Chinese ?

Postby Ser » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:53 am

Inst wrote:although you can see that Hong Kong and Singapore have moved from Traditional to Simplified).

Hong Kong and Macao continue to be strong users of Traditional Chinese characters to this day. You could consider their normative Chinese to be another norm of its own, Gwok3yu5 (the Cantonese version of "Guóyǔ").
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