Many students are attracted to Chinese characters because they look sooo beautiful and artistic. Before you start to learn how to write Chinese characters, one very important question to ask:” Simplified or Traditional?” If you ever heard of the 2 types of Chinese characters, you would wonder what is the difference? Which one is better?

Let me answer your questions so you won’t waste your time exploring and figuring out yourself.


Basically, you can tell the difference between the terms, one is called simplified, so Simplified Chinese is easier and less complicated compared to traditional Chinese characters. For example, the same character for horse simplified Chinese character looks like this马, while traditional Chinese character for horse is this:馬. As you can see, the traditional type definitely looks more complicated and has more strokes. Below are more examples of the same Chinese characters in simplified and traditional version.


The other difference between traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese is the regional difference. Traditional Chinese Characters are used in HongKong, Taiwan and Macau, but simplified ones are used in China mainland such as Beijing and Singapore. So if you are going to visit or live in China mainland, learning the simplified Chinese Characters would be the best choice.

The difference in the learning process.

From a foreigner’s point of view, especially if your 1st language is Latin based language. Learning Chinese can be quite challenging in general. Learning how to write Chinese characters will be the most time-consuming part. That’s why I also recommend my students only learn to speak and listen when you just start. If you’re at the point where you need or want to learn characters, I highly recommend you learn Simplified Chinese Characters first. If you won’t live in Taiwan or the areas where traditional Chinese characters used, then you will do great without learning traditional ones. Even if you’re going to have to use traditional Chinese characters sometime in future, it’s still a great idea to start with the simplified type. Because, these are easier, these are the basic Chinese characters, a lot of the traditional Chinese characters still look similar to the simplified Chinese, so often times, if you learned the simplified Chinese character, you’ll be able to recognize the traditional one.

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