Wednesday, 30 March 2016

“Traditional or simplified, the script is for communication", March 30

I don't understand the brouhaha over learning simplified characters ("Traditional or simplified, the script is for communication", March 30). Surely this is a storm in a teacup. 
I learned Chinese at Peking University in the mid seventies. I learnt simplified characters. 
When I came to Hong Kong I was confronted with traditional characters. I quickly realised that many of the differences were logical and straight forward. Simplified radicals based on pre-existing cursive forms in use for centuries, account for many of the differences. For example, "yan", from 訁to 讠.  These are very quickly mastered. 
It took me just a few months of part-time study to be able to read Hong Kong signage and newspapers in traditional characters. 
Moreover, I suggest it's easier to go from traditional to simplified, rather than the opposite route I did. 
If an adult gweilo 鬼佬  such as me can quickly adapt from simplified to traditional characters, surely local mother-tongue Chinese speakers can go from traditional to simplified even more quickly. 
As for calligraphy, of course it will continue to be done in the more artistically felicitous traditional characters (or even Xu Hong's invented characters).
In short, Hong Kongers should stop moaning and get on with the the job of learning the written form that's used by the vast majority of Chinese.  And one that will enable reading mandarin as it's increasingly written outside China.  It's not about China trying another take-over route.
What's more, it's fun!
Yours, etc....