Is It Better to Learn Simplified or Traditional Chinese?

The answer really depends on where you will be traveling to — the Simplified Chinese characters are used in Mainland China and Singapore while Traditional Chinese characters are used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and by most overseas Chinese.

Learners are often intimidated by how complicated traditional Chinese characters look, but they actually contain the original visual meanings and beauty of the Chinese language. In addition, Traditional Chinese is used for classical materials such as poems and works of art like calligraphy and paintings.

Some people may claim that Simplified Chinese is easier to learn, but it is only partially true. Simplified Chinese characters contain fewer strokes and may be easier to remember for new learners. The actual effort involved in learning either traditional or simplified characters is quite similar.

Once you figure out where you will be using the language, both orally and in a written form, you can then decide whether to learn Simplified or Traditional characters. The good news is that after establishing a foundation in either Simplified or Traditional Chinese, picking up the other character set is kind of easy (especially if you’re coming from the traditional side!).

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