Everything about China and it's culture

Everything about China and it's culture

  • Category Archives Chinese Characters
  • Simplified characters about to get more complicated

    The Chinese government announced that they are going to be making some changes to the simplified character system (简体字) currently used throughout mainland China. According to the Shanghai Daily, the short list of revised characters is already completed and will be released sometime in the near future.


    Characters are based on a radical system, which provides some guidance as to the potential meaning of the word.

    But the characters being updated were allegedly too simple – people had found it too hard to interpret their meanings from the way they were written.

    A Tianjin official raised the possibility of returning to the traditional character system (繁体字) (abolished in 1956) at March’s National People’s Congress. He argued that the simplified system is destroying China’s cultural heritage.

    China Smack discussed the ramifications of returning to the traditional system back in March and the reaction was overwhelmingly against the idea.

    We tend to agree. The simplified system has been in use for over fifty years and a return back to the traditional form will only result in confusion and more headaches for the country’s education system.

  • Man wants China to return to traditional characters

    One of the proposals being presented before the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference is a plan to "restore, resume, resurrect, or return" to traditional characters.

    The whole "traditional vs. simplified" debate might seem inconsequential, but is in fact a heated topic that has its stakes in political and cultural identities.

    As the name implies, simplified characters are, well, simpler–they require less strokes to write and are easier to read when written in smaller type. Mainland China moved towards simplified characters as a way to increase literacy in the vastly illiterate 1950s.

    However, Chinese in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and various overseas communities still use traditional characters, which have been around in their current form since more or less the 5th Century.

    According to Danwei, Pan’s primary complaints concerning the usage of simplified characters stems from these three key issues:

  • The first round of simplifications in the 1950s was accomplished too hastily, producing a result that betrayed the fundamental aesthetic and scientific principles underlying Chinese characters.
  • They’ve outlived their usefulness, since flexible computer input methods have been developed that handle simplified and traditional characters equally well.
  • Reviving the use of traditional characters would foster cross-straits unity by bringing the mainland in line with Taiwan, which still uses what are called "standard characters" (正体字).
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  • Number of Chinese characters

    说文解字 – The first complete dictionary that listed all Chinese characters was published in Han Dynasty 汉朝 at around 100 A.D. It was regarded as the the origin of Chinese characters. It included 9,353 characters.


    康熙字典(Kangxi) – the well known classic of Chinese dictionary was published in 1716 of Qing Dynasty 清朝. The Kangxi dictionary included about 46,964 characters compiled in 42 booklets. Most of the characters were unused and rare variant accumulated over the centuries. Those characters were regrouped under 214 radicals still in use today in many dictionaries to classified characters in traditional form.                                                          


  • Origin of Chinese Characters

    As we know, written Chinese is not an alphabetic language. We call Chinese characters as ‘squared characters’ and they are. They seems very complicated and hard to learn. But Chinese is the most used language in the world and certainly one of the most beautiful languages. It will be interesting to know its origin.


  • The Basics About Chinese Characters

    There are over 80,000 Chinese characters, but most of them are seldom used today. So how many Chinese characters do you need to know? For basic reading and writing of modern Chinese, you only need a few thousands. Here are the coverage rates of the most frequently used Chinese characters:

    Most frequently used 1,000 characters: ~90% (Coverage rate)
    Most frequently used 2,500 characters: 98.0% (Coverage rate)
    Most frequently used 3,500 characters: 99.5% (Coverage rate)

    For an English word, the Chinese translation (or the Chinese ‘word’) often consists of two or more Chinese characters. You should use them together and read them from left to right. If you want to arrange them vertically, the one on the leftmost should go to the top. See an example for the word ‘English’ below:


  • Guide Picks – Top 10 Chinese Lucky Symbols

    Chinese characters usually have one or more meanings and some of them are particularly loved by Chinese people. Here is the top ten list of the lucky ones. Please note Pinyin is also used here, which is the Chinese spelling system for the characters. For example, fu is the pinyin for good luck in Chinese. But fu is only the phonic part of the character and it also represents other Chinese characters that sound the same.


      1.) Fu – Blessing, Good Fortune, Good Luck
    Fu is one of the most popular Chinese characters used in Chinese New Year. It is often posted upside down on the front door of a house or an apartment. The upside down fu means good luck came since the character for upsite down in Chinese sounds the same as the character for came.



     2.) Lu – Prosperity
    It used to mean official’s salary in feudal China. Fengshui is believed to be the Chinese way to health, wealth and happiness. If you are interested in Fengshui, you may check out the book ‘The Feng Shui Kit.’




      3.) Shou – Longevity
    Shou also means life, age or birthday.





      4.) Xi – Happiness
    Double happiness is usually posted everywhere on Chinese weddings.




     5.) Cai – wealth, money
    Chinese often say money can make a ghost turn a millstone. It is to say money really can do a lot of things.




      6.) He – harmonious
    ‘People harmony’ is an important part of Chinese culture. When you have harmonious relations with others, things will be a lot easier for you.



     7.) Ai – love, affection
    Don’t need to say any more about this one. Just want to point out ai is often used with ‘mianzi’ together. Aimianzi means ‘be concerned about one’s face-saving.’



     8.) Mei – beautiful, pretty
    The United States of American is called Mei Guo in the short form. Guo means country so Meiguo is a good name.



     9.) Ji – lucky, auspicious, propitious
    Hope all is well.




     10.) De – virtue, moral
    De means virtue, moral, heart, mind, and kindness, etc. It is also used in the name for Germany, i.e., De Guo.


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