The Simplified script (a.k.a. Simplified Chinese) was officially adopted in the People's Republic of China in 1949 in an effort to eradicate illiteracy. The simplified script is also used in Singapore but the older traditional characters are still used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia.
A second round of simplifications which was published in 1977 but proved very unpopular and was abandoned in 1986.
About 2,000 characters have been simplified in a number of different ways (the simplified characters are shown in red):
Many simplified characters are based on commonly used abbreviations:
Others retain only one part from the traditional character.
Some replace the phonetic element of the traditional character with a simpler one that is pronounced in the same or in a similar way:
In some cases, several traditional characters are represented by one simplified character:
Recently the traditional characters have started to make a come back, particularly in southern China.
learn to read, write and pronounce Chinese characters
Hanzi - information about Simplified characters
The Pitfalls and Complexities of Chinese to Chinese Conversion
A list of 350 simplified characters with their traditional equivalents
Even Simpler Than Before - a discussion of the second round of simplifications
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