Learning Traditional and Simplified characters side-by-side?

November 29, 2009, 01:37 PM posted in General Discussion

I've recently upgraded myself to the premium subscription so I've been making good use of the Vocabulary tab and Skritter tool (which is extrememly helpful, by the way! ^.^)

So with Skritter, you get to practice and learn to write the Simplified characters but I'd also like to learn the Traditional characters, since I visit Hong Kong quite often (you may wonder why I'm learning Mandarin, not Cantonese, haha, it's just a lot more accessible and I just couldn't get my head around Cantonese >.< Hopefully one day I'll return to learning, but for now I'm concentrating on Mandarin!) But there isn't an option on Skritter to practice Traditional characters >.< I'd really like to be able to learn both sets of characters side-by-side as I think this will save me countless hours going back and learning the Traditional and also, I think learning both at the same time gives me more opportunities to practice my reading and writing skills in Hong Kong.

Granted, you can do the activities in either Simplified or Traditional, but I'd really like to learn to write both at the same time. If there's no way to encorporate Traditional characters into Skritter or the vocabulary lists/tab, is there a way you would strongly recommend for me to use to learn them?

Also, do you think are there any drawbacks of learning both sets of characters at the same time? I would imagine there's many benefits but I can only think that it may take a little longer to learn... Is there any reason why perhaps a Newbie, such as myself, learning both sets?

Thank you! ^.^


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November 29, 2009, 01:52 PM

Hey, Doodles! At the right side of your vocabulary tab, there's a box with a link that says: "Convert all Chinese characters to your chosen character set".

See that cogwheel next to it? Click on it and you can switch between trad and simp. Switching here will switch the characters that are exported to Skritter. Skritter can do both.

As for learning both at the same time, the advice I've heard is that you should do firts one, then the other. I'm not sure why. Probably because it's easier to associate a trad character to a simp you already know well than to associate two unknown characters to each other. Maybe.

I don't know. Do your own thing, anyway, and to hell with the advice. :)

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November 29, 2009, 02:02 PM

Emma, I can't help you with Skritter, never used it, but highly recommend that you learn both character sets at the same time. I have put in countless hours using only simplified and now can't even read a Chinese newspaper! The two classes I was able to take at my local community college only used the simplified version of Integrated Chinese (a textgbook), and Chinese was so overwhelmingly difficult for me as an older adult with no experience whatsoever, that I only focussed on the simplified.

Now when I attack a new CP lesson I learn both characters. I am a paper-pencil person and usually write characters, in proper form and stroke order, for 1-3 hours daily. If I write a sentence in simplified, I then write the characters having traditional counterparts as well. Hands on, practice practice practice.

What I use to make sure of the proper stroke order is Pleco. I could not and would not be studying Chinese if it weren't for Pleco. I'd have given up long ago.

I'm in the states with no opportunity to practice speaking/listening. I envy your exposure to HK!

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November 29, 2009, 02:09 PM

Ah yaaaaay! simonpettersson 谢谢! 谢谢! 谢谢! That's just made my life a lot easier! ^.^ And I practice writing them too now! ^.^ 

And now you mention it, I'm not so sure about learning both side-by-side... you could say I'm a very distracted Poddie! I can't concentrate on many things at a time! haha so maybe learning both sets isn't the right thing for me to do at this moment in time... I think I'll definitely concentrate on learning to read and write Simplifield but maybe I'll just stick to reading the Traditional; the writing can come later ^.^ I think as long as I can recognise both sets, then that's all I want out of it.

And thank you for your advice eupnea63355! That's really interesting to hear of your experiences. Being a very young Poddie myself, hopefully I'm still at prime age for picking up both sets! hehe But like I said, I think I'll just concentrate on learning to read and write Simplified but I think I'll still expose myself to the Traditional but I don't think I'm quite ready to learn to write both yet. My little head can only take so much! hehe ^.^

So thank you so much to both of you for your advice and help! ^.^