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Re: Chinese writing systems

From:Florian Rivoal <florian@...>
Date:Tuesday, November 5, 2002, 19:01
>I don't have proof per se, but I would imagine traditional --> >simplified is easier than simplified--> traditional, and even *that* >is not insurmountable.
Traditional -> simplified: not so hard, because many (ok, not all, but still) changes were decided by looking how people naturaly simplified writing through fast hand writing. And some changes are regular. one example: Some traditional characters include something which look more or less like ''`` four small more or less vertical lines. Writing fast it becomes like /\/\/\/ that is linking the small lines together because you don't take the time to lift the pen from the paper. this one line can even become ---- a straight line when you write very fast, which is actualy most of the time. Well look a simplified hanzi. where traditional have ''`` you will almost always find ____. it is not always so easy, and regular, but this is already an important part of the simplification process. Some times the way used is diferent. You maybe know that a hanzi can often be splitted in two: one part giving a tip for pronouciation, one giving a vague idea of the meaning. those parts can be composed can often be divided the same way. Some time it was felt the ancient scribs went a bit crazy merging already quite complex characters. so simplified version would get rid of a 25 stroke part indicating what the the pronouciation is close to, to chose an other one with less strokes, and exact same promounciation. So though you can not actualy read the character, it is not more difficult than guessing an unkown one, which most chinese say it is not so difficult when you already know a lot of them. Simplified -> traditional for regular changes, same thing, exept that you can not guess what was the traditional form, but once you know it (because it is common), then there is no problem. For non regular graphical simplification, the only way is to rembember one by one. for the other style, same difficulty as in the other way, except that the difficult part indicating pronouciation might have completly disapeared, even as a stand alone. But people from mainland have many opportunity to come across traditional hanzi: old texts and imported texts. text does not necessarly mean book. an old text can be writen on a shrine or in a temple, and imported text can be on a dvd player box or user manual, on any web page, or, and that's maybe the main way they see it, in karaoke. Most machines (not to say all) are made in hong kong (where people use traditional) and taiwan. So the text is always display in traditional. And remember that karaoke may be the favorite hobby for many chinese.


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>