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I have read that those foreigners who learn simplified chinese have an easier time picking up traditional chinese than the other way around.

I really hope so!  In fact, I was struggling back in September with how to advise a friend of mine who was just starting to learn Mandarin in Taiwan, where he had the option of studying in traditional vs. simplified characters.  I really did not know what to tell him, because after two months of study, it was already clear to me that learning simplified was significantly easier than traditional.  However, it was also quite clear that by learning simplified, you lose an enormous amount of information about the etymology among and thus "deep" relationships between characters.

Come to think of it, I never found out which one he decided to study.  As for my myself, had I been given the choice, I would have started studying traditional, but being on the mainland, I had no such choice.  But in a way, I am sort of grateful now that I am studying simplified, as it is already such an immense task to learn the other aspects of Chinese (grammar, listening comprehension, vocabulary, etc.)  It would be great if what you read about learning simplified vs. traditional first turns out to be correct!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Jan 1st, 2008 at 01:45:31 PM EST
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