What are traditional and simplified Chinese characters about?

April 15, 2010 | Posted by Chris

There are two main sets of Chinese characters: traditional characters and simplified characters.

Traditional characters were the standard set of characters for over 1000 years. But in the 1950s, to promote literacy and to some extent national renewal, mainland China created simplified Chinese characters. Simplified Chinese characters are very similar to traditional characters, and in many cases characters are identical; the differences lay in the "simplifications" of what may be regarded as needlessly complicated characters.

Traditional characters are generally regarded to be more artful, and they adorn shop signs throughout Beijing. They are predominately used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other overseas Chinese communities.

For example, the following are the simplified and traditional versions of cái, which means "talent" or "ability" or can be an adverb:

Simplified Traditional

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