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A Study of

Modern Simplified Chinese Characters

YAP SHEAU WEI

MASTER OF ARTS (CHINESE STUDIES)

INSTITUTE OF CHINESE STUDIES


UNIVERSITI TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN

APRIL 2013


A Study of
Modern Simplified Chinese Characters

By

YAP SHEAU WEI

A dissertation submitted to the Department of Chinese Studies


Institude of Chinese Studies
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman
in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts (Chinese Studies)
April 2013

20

ii

iii

iv

Abstract

Chinese characters develop itself from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells to


simplified Chinese character. The transformation to simplified Chinese character started
in the middle of 20th century which now plays an important role in the modernized world.
The reformation of Chinese character occurred mainly because the world is constantly
changing. Also, it is designed to help people who are illiterate in mainland China. Thus,
the existence of simplified Chinese characters is crucial to suit and adopt the worlds and
nations necessity.

The purpose of this research is to study the consistency in the reformation process
of Chinese character from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells to simplified Chinese
character; a discussion on the pro and cons of this reformation and the direction of
simplified Chinese Heading in the 21st century. Besides, this thesis aims to give an
analysts on the challenges faced currently and in the future, and finally the measures to be
taken to overcome these challenges.

When the simplified Chinese characters were introduced, authors came to a


consensus to use The Chinese Character Simplification Project, The Second Chinese
Character Simplification Project and Master List of Simplified Chinese Characters as the
original reference for simplified Chinese character. This paper will study some of the
related works and academic theses concerned
v

In the first chapter, the passage studies the history of Chinese characters and
explains their reformation. It focuses on the characteristics and patterns of simplified
Chinese characters from the traditional ones. Subsequently, it investigates the differences
in their relationship.

In the second chapter, the process of transformation from traditional Chinese


characters to simplified Chinese characters is discussed. This chapter examines the
success in the development of simplified Chinese character which is beneficial to the
Chinese character itself and also to the society.

In the third chapter, the primary focus emphasizes the direction of simplified
Chinese characters heading which distinguishes the pro and cons of this reformation in
Chinese characters. Moreover, this chapter will deal with the reasons regarding why some
scholars are unsatisfied with this reformation.

In reality, Simplified Chinese characters has exceeded the law of liushu,


because it created after the Shuo Wen Jie Zi. Thus, Chapter Four attempts to analyze the
simplified Chinese characters structure were based on Wangnings Chinese character
structure theory. Based on the structure, Wangning analyzes Chinese characters and it is
discovered there all 4 functions and 11 models of Chinese character structure
configuration. These 11 models covered the law of liushu, which would helps The
Chinese Character Simplification Project to be more systematic and scientific in the
vi

future.

Chapter Six discusses the problems of simplified Chinese character faced. This
chapter tried to improve the flaws in the simplified Chinese characters. Apart from that,
this section proposes to standardize the characters and also suggest it as the main
character and Hanyu Pinyin as a supplement in order to face globalization.

The last chapter is the conclusion of the study. It reflects the Chinese characters
have developed for thousands of years from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shell to
simplified Chinese characters.

Although the objective of simplified chinese characters to introduce Hanyu Pinyin


initially, but it didnt succeed. The simplification of Chinese Modern Characters has
brought about two significant contributions. Firstly, the emergence of simplified Chinese
characters is a sign of rebirth of the Chinese characters and at the same time a better
replacement for traditional Chinese than Hanyu Pinyin. Besides, this reformation is also an
advantage to the education society and nation.

On the other hand, the transformation of traditional Chinese characters to simplified


Chinese characters causes intrinsic and extrinsic problems. The intrinsic problem includes
that simplified Chinese characters are lack of scientific investigation and are less
systematic thus causes the simplified Chinese characters to be incomplete. The extrinsic
vii

problem is that some people felt the importance in the revival of tradition Chinese character.
However, it can be argued that the extrinsic problem arises because of the existence of
intrinsic problem. Thus, by making corrections and alterations to make a more complete set
of The

Chinese Character Simplification Projectthe threats to revive traditional

Chinese characters could be lessen.

In conclusion, in the process to simplify traditional Chinese characters, establishing


The

Chinese Character Simplification Project and framing Master List of Simplified

Chinese Characters as well as a more scientific and systematic approach is crucial to


standardize the simplified Chinese characters. By taking all these measures, the threat to
revive traditional Chinese characters can be eliminated. Furthermore, this helps to ensure
that the simplified Chinese character continues to be the main stream of Chinese characters
in the modern 21st century.

Keywords: Chinese characters

Simplified Chinese character

viii

Hanyu Pinyin

ix

______________

_________________

15.12.2012

06 ULM 01991

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15-12-2012

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