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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What are traditional and simplified characters in Chinese? Do I need to learn both?
Traditional characters are the original Chinese characters. They were used in China before the 1950s and are still in use in many areas outside mainland China, including Hongkong, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries that speak Chinese. To increase literacy, simplified Chinese, which has less strokes, has been adopted. It was established as the official writing system by the government in mainland China. Therefore, nowadays simplified Chinese is used in mainland China, and traditional Chinese is used mostly outside of mainland China.
Let’s look at how traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese are different from each other:
“Happy” - 快乐(simplified) - 快樂 (traditional)
“Study” - 学习 (simplified) - 學習 (traditional)
“Weather” - 天气 (simplified) - 天氣 (traditional)
Due to the similarities between the two writing systems, someone who is familiar with one writing system may be able to decipher characters in the other. Traditional Chinese is often considered to be more authentic because it’s rooted directly in the ancient forms. However, it's not necessary to learn both at the same time; just pick one depending on where you want to visit or live.


How was it? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to answer them!
我们下期再见!我們下期再見!(Wǒmen xiàqī zàijiàn!) See you in the next episode!