Simplified Chinese characters
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|Since early 20th century|
Simplified Chinese characters (简化字; jiǎnhuàzì) are standardized
Traditional Chinese characters are currently used in
Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name above or colloquially (简体字;
Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular
Some simplified characters are very dissimilar to and unpredictably different from traditional characters, especially in those where a component is replaced by a simple symbol. This often leads opponents not well-versed in the method of simplification to conclude that the 'overall process' of character simplification is arbitrary.[
In August 2009, the PRC began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters. The new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8,105 (simplified and unchanged) characters was officially implemented for use by the State Council of the People's Republic of China on June 5, 2013.
Although most of the simplified Chinese characters in use today are the result of the works moderated by the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the 1950s and 60s, character simplification predates the PRC's formation in 1949. Cursive written text almost always includes character simplification. Simplified forms used in print are attested as early as the
One of the earliest proponents of character simplification was
In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the
The PRC issued its first round of official character simplifications in two documents, the first in 1956 and the second in 1964.
Within the PRC, further character simplification became associated with the
There had been simplification initiatives aimed at eradicating characters entirely and establishing the
The officially promulgated version of the List of Commonly Used Standardized Characters, announced in 2013, contained 45 newly recognized standard characters that were previously considered variant forms, as well as official approval of 226 characters that had been simplified by analogy and had seen wide use but were not explicitly given in previous lists or documents.
Singapore underwent three successive rounds of character simplification, eventually arriving at the same set of simplified characters as Mainland China.
The first round, consisting of 498 Simplified characters from 502 Traditional characters, was promulgated by the Ministry of Education in 1969. The second round, consisting of 2287 Simplified characters, was promulgated in 1974. The second set contained 49 differences from the Mainland China system; those were removed in the final round in 1976. In 1993, Singapore adopted the six revisions made by Mainland China in 1986. However, unlike in mainland China where personal names may only be registered using simplified characters, parents have the option of registering their children's names in traditional characters in Singapore.
Traditional characters are still often seen in decorative contexts such as shop signs and calligraphy in both countries.
A small group called Dou Zi Sei (T:導字社; S:导字社)/Dou Zi Wui (T:導字會; S:导字会) attempted to introduce a special version of simplified characters using romanizations in the 1930s. Today, however, the traditional characters remain dominant in Hong Kong.
The number of characters in circulation was also reduced, and formal lists of characters to be learned during each grade of school were established. The overall effect was to standardize teaching and the use of Kanji in modern literature and media.