Why row over Chinese characters when simplified to traditional is one easy step
There’s no need for the kerfuffle over the use of simplified characters in Hong Kong – I refer to the recent articles by Alex Lo (“Harrow right to take simplified approach”, June 7) and Paul Stapleton (“Traditional or simplified? Debate on Chinese characters should be decided by pragmatics, not politics”, June 12).
I learned Chinese as an adult, first in Beijing in the mid 1970s. Being in Beijing, I was taught simplified characters. In later full-time study in Hong Kong, I learned the traditional forms. I found this a pretty straightforward process.
What is rarely mentioned by commenters is that simplified characters are most often derived from a cursive version of the traditional. Learning a few basic rules for the connection between simplified and traditional characters allows anyone to be literate in both in short order.
By the way, if there’s a sensible order in which to learn, it’s simplified then traditional: walk before you run. Though it’s no big drama if it’s the other way around.
Take it from me: if I can learn both simplified and traditional forms of Chinese characters, anyone can.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay