To a Mandarin-Chinese learner, learning traditional characters or simplified characters is a question.
Traditional characters are used commonly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and most oversea communities.
Simplified characters are used officially on Mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and growing oversea communities.
Some people argue that traditional characters represent Chinese culture better. Some people prefer simplified characters for easier reading and writing.
My opinion is , if you wish to work or study in areas where traditional characters are used, you should learn traditional characters to make your life easier.
If you learn Mandarin-Chinese for solely enjoying the culture, traditional characters might be a good choice too.
If your business or career is associated mostly with traditional character used areas, learning traditional character sounds reasonable.
If you or your children come from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau areas and you wish to keep your tradition, learning traditional characters will be a natural choice.
If you wish to know more of traditional characters, here is a website that you might find helpful: 繁体字网.
You type one Chinese character, you will get an idea of the developmental history of this character.
Except above reasons, learning simplified characters will be a better choice.
First, simplified characters are used in more areas than traditional characters.
Second, if you know simplified characters, you have no problem with reading traditional ones.
If you start with traditional characters first, you might have no clue of many simplified ones.
Third, the late popularity of Mandarin-Chinese attributes to the economic rising on mainland China.
If you wish to do business with huge population from mainland China or your career is closely associated with mainland China, you really need learn simplified characters.
If you are a parent looking for a school for your child, unless you are from traditional characters used areas, I suggest your child goes to a school where simplified characters are taught.
I hope I am not biased, but I have to say it honestly, learning simplified characters will be a better choice considering kinds of factors.
Simplified characters are much easier to read and write, so your child won’t feel overwhelmed to learn Mandarin-Chinese which is a totally different language from English.
With more and more mainland Chinese people come to abroad, in the coming future, your child might meet more Chinese people using simplified characters.
Actually, more and more oversea medias start to adopt simplified characters to adapt to this trend.
Mainland China has a huge population, which means a lot of business opportunities, learning simplified characters will bring your child more possible opportunities in the future.
Of course, no matter what kind of characters to use, within the assistance of computer software, it is easy to switch between traditional characters and simplified ones.
In this sense, learners have freedom to choose characters they feel more comfortable with.
One thing is for sure, no matter what kind of characters you are going to learn, you will learn one same subject: rich Chinese culture, history and customs.
If you wish to convert simplified characters to traditional ones, here is a helpful link: simplified to traditional Chinese converter.
I hope this post gives you some ideas to help you make a decision to help your child’s Mandarin Chinese learning.
In my next post, I will talk about some basic rules for writing Chinese characters.