Is it necessary for foreigners to learn Traditional Chinese?

2021/05/13 22:07

As a Chinese, I want to tell you it is actually not necessary to learn Traditional Chinese for foreign Chinese learners. Because Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese have the same pronunciation and they are just different just in writing.

In other words, the difference between Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese is the glyph, not the pronunciation or pinyin. That is to say if you can read Simplified Chinese characters, you can also read Traditional Chinese characters.

For most foreigners, especially for foreigners whose mother tongue is English or some western language, it is very difficult to write Chinese characters. So there is no need to spend huge amount of time to learn traditional Chinese if you don’t live in Hongkong or Taiwan.

In addition, most browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, etc., can automatically convert Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese, or convert Simplified Chinese to Traditional Chinese. Therefore, it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of time to learn Traditional Chinese writing.

At last, if you plan to live in Hong Kong or Taiwan for a long time in the future, I suggest you give priority to learn Traditional Chinese instead of Simplified Chinese. If you want to live in China mainland, you need to learn Simplified Chinese.

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