When it comes to Chinese learning, people may wonder which one to learn: the simplified or the standard?
Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue to over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world. However, only around 30 million people of Taiwan and Hong Kong recognize traditional characters. Taiwan is the only country in the world that preserves traditional characters and lists Mandarin as one of the official languages.
A quick thought to simplified Chinese characters is that they contains less strokes, thus it should be easier?
This is partially true only for the new learners. The reality is that you need to learn the same amount of characters whether you learn the simplified or the standard? Furthermore, when your character amount increases to some higher level, the major effort goes to memorizing radical position, meaning and relationships, instead of the strokes of single word.
That being said, you will find simplified Chinese characters fairly confusing because some lack the major radicals and share unrelated common radicals. Radicals of Chinese characters are based on a logical system, which make it easier to expand 214 radicals to more than 20,000 Chinese characters.
In a word, standard Chinese characters might frustrate you at the first few months, but it paves a easier way to apprehend lexical forms and appreciate the beauty and wisdom of words if you aim to master Chinese.
Understanding traditional Chinese characters, which have been used for over 3,000 years since the Shang Dynasty, is crucial for understanding Chinese culture. Because all the Chinese classics were created in the form of standard Chinese characters.
The aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy can be embodied only through standard Chinese characters. The profound wisdom behind the standard Chinese characters is an indispensable element of Chinese culture.
If you are a serious learner, learn both the simplified and the standard, but do start with the standard.
Learning standard Chinese characters makes it easy to recognize the simplified ones, but the reverse not. The following example makes a good metaphor:
Hong Kong (CNN) -- The Hong Kong government said Monday that riot police have pulled back from pro-democracy demonstrations around the city that have caused widespread disruption in one of Asia's financial hubs. Defiant demonstrators remained on the streets of Hong Kong's financial center, blocking traffic on key highways a day after clashes with police that left more than 40 people injured.
HK CNN -- d HK gov sad Mon. dt riot pls hv pu'od bk fm pro-dmcrcydmnstr-gen ard d cty dt hv cozd wdspred dzrap-gen in 1 o asia's 5nncio hubs. Dfiant dmnstrtrrs remand on d st. o hk's 5nncio cntrr, blokin trffk on ki hywayz 1 day aft klshz wz pls dt lft mo dan 40 ppl injrd.
Now in China , more and more students and professors turn to standard Chinese characters. Increasing retrospection on the simplified Chinese can be seen everywhere in China. Even the Chinese people who have used simplified words for over 60 years now discover it does not make sense.
For example, the simplified Chinese character of love is very weird because it eliminates the important part - "心" from the original character, that means the heart. How can you love people without having a heart? The logic is wrong and the wisdom is gone.
The famous Swedish sinologist, Göran Malmqvist, learned the simplified Chinese characters at first and later changed to the standard one. He is the one in the west world who advocates the renaissance of standard Chinese characters in order to reserve the whole repertoire of Chinese culture.
Reference：http://goranmalmqvist.blogspot.tw (Göran Malmqvist's Blog)
Taiwan's cultural diversity has never undermined its longstanding role as torch-bearer of orthodox Chinese culture. The dominant culture in Taiwan is Chinese. Immigrants from mainland China since the 16th century, especially those who arrived in 1949, after the Chinese civil war, brought Confucianism and Chinese culture to Taiwan. So Taiwan succeeds the complete word system and the whole repertoire of Chinese ideology without any cultural damages. Many international visitors who yearn for a better understanding of Chinese culture deem Taiwan as their foremost choice.
As a legitimate heir of authentic Chinese culture, Taiwan government is committed to the preservation and the promotion of the treasure of Chinese culture. The Nantional Palace Museum has an outstanding collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artifacts and artworks, one of the largest in the world. The collection encompasses over 10,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty. Most of the collection are high quality pieces collected by China's ancient emperors. It is a major attraction for visitors looking for an immersion of Chinese culture. Visitors also will see ornate temples and traditional Chinese architectures.
Anyone with a desire to
learn the free, genuine and traditional Chinese can come to Taiwan,
where there is no concealed and distorted pieces in the history. All the
customs and festivals are kept as how they were memorized and worshiped
in earlier times. For example, the lunar July, the traditional Ghost
Month, is frantically celebrated for a whole month in Taiwan. On the
contrary, any speech or ideology related to ghosts or gods were largely
wiped out during the Cultural Revolution. Till now you still see its remaining
effects in daily life of China. One street in Beijing is named the gueˇ
street (meaning the ghost street), but the word of "gueˇ" was replaced
with a weird complicated character that is to enunciate exactly the same with
"ghost" in Chinese. Actually, no one knows where the character comes
from, what it means and why wasn't this character simplified?
Mandarin Chinese spoken in Taiwan is sort of attractive tone that is the result of keeping the ancient Chinese language - Hollo.
Hollo had been the ancient Chinese official language for over 2,000 years, during which abundant amounts of civilization records had been created, like songs, operas, novels, religion thinking, poetry, martial theories and Kong Fu classics. Those works were all done in the form of traditional Chinese characters and in the tone of Hollo. One interesting thing to mention is that Confucius did speak Hollo, instead of Mandarin Chinese.
The modern Mandarin Chinese had been transferred gradually from Hollo due to the 1,000 years long occupation of nomadic tribes from the Mongolia grassland. Their languages use many pronunciations from the tongue, the throat and the nose. As a result, you might hear many kinds of modern Chinese accents in China with curling tongue and sticky throat.
Thanks to the early immigrants from Mainland China to Taiwan, these ancestry helped keep the original Hollo language in Taiwan. Taiwanese accent is clear and melodic without much use of tongue or throat.
Mandarin Chinese spoken in Taiwan sounds clear, articulate and expressive. So the Taiwanese accent is very popular in the greater Chinese circle. Chinese all over the world love to sing Taiwanese pop songs in KTV rooms and watch Taiwanese TV shows at home. In China, the TV stations cast the news anchors and TV show MCs that speak more like Taiwanese tone or even hire Taiwanese nationals directly.
So Taiwanese are the people who can speak both modern and ancient Chinese. Taiwanese have no problem to enunciate the classic poems and appreciate the rhymes and aesthetics of the classic masterpieces.
You have good chances to build up this good accent from scratch in Taiwan and appreciate the classic melody of Taiwanese Hollo. Mandarin has four tones while Hollo has seven. Without using too much tongue, throat and nose, these tonal languages make every speaking word sound like vibrant notes.
By joining BMT Program, you have an ideal backpacking base at the heart of Asian. It is an efficient way to explore Asia by visiting every of major festivals and saving the exhaustion of lengthy journey.
Taiwan rests at the west edge of the Pacific Ocean, an introductory position into Asia. The location of Taiwan makes it a perfect base for a grand Asia expedition. It is located at the heart of the Asia-Pacific region.
The average flight time from Taiwan to the seven major cities in Western Pacific is merely 2 hours and 55 minutes, northwards to Tokyo and Seoul, westwards to Shanghai, southwards to Hong Kong, Singapore and the capitals of the ASEAN countries.
You can be always ready for any important festivals in any Asian cities, like the Songkran in Bangkok, the Matsuri in Tokyo or Kyoto, the Chuseok in Seoul, or Longhua Temple Fair in Shanghai.
By joining our program, you already have a reliable helper in Taiwan upon your arrival. Your host family is your ideal backpacking base. Instead of trailing tons of luggage all the way throughout the long journey, you can just leave much of your luggage at homestay residence.
Asia is of countless ancient treasures and stylish modern cultures for every young heart to explore. These fascinating surprises can definitely expand your horizons.
In-between your short trips in Asia, you have a home-like residence to refresh and recharge yourself. With our full support, BMT Homestay Program is definitely the best springboard for your deep diving into Asia!
The global economic center is moving from the west to the east. The main stage is shifting from mature marketplace to newly emerging and developing ones, especially the BRIC countries. Among them, China and India are at the center of the Asian-Pacific region. Their strong economic powers have made them the new driving force of the world economy. Taiwan is geographically and culturally close to the center of this world economic circle. The location of Taiwan makes it a perfect spot for international corporations to establish their headquarters in Asia-Pacific region.
Taiwan is uniquely positioned on the west edge of the Pacific, its location is of economic and military importance. Taiwan is the gateway between Europe, America, Japan and the booming Asia-Pacific markets. It is also the first choice for international company headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan's capability in science and technology is of world-class competence, presenting the most effective play in Asia on recently US economic recovery. Taiwan enterprises offer superior profitability and value creation dynamics.
Furthermore, Taiwan enjoys the language, cultural and geographical advantages. With the normalization of cross-strait trade, both local and foreign companies can completely make use of Taiwan's potential advantages. Through the linkage with the international market, Taiwan industry has become the development test-bed for Asian market or the Greater China market. Due to its unique demographic composition and special cultural versality, Taiwan is a probing spot of cinema premieres for many Hollywood film studios. For students, Taiwan is the first portal to enter Asia and the best destination to build their future career in Asia.
as an immigrant society is always open for new cultures and new people.
Its cultural diversity and friendly generosity are rarely seen not only
in Asia but all over the world. Stranger is no stranger. You can get
all kinds of help from a total stranger. Asia is always thought to be kind of
hard-to-reach continental, especially for westerners. The warm
hospitability of the people on this isle makes it an easy portal into
Simply taking the living cost and quality into consideration, Taiwan is way ahead of many Asian cities. The life is easy and fun. Living cost, tempo and standard of Taiwan make it an attractive lightspot in Asia. Taiwan is deemed as a must-visit-in-lifetime spot for Mainlanders, a weekend rear garden of Japanese, and a frantic dreamland for immigrants from Hong Kong. Taiwan has its charisma deserving the reputation.
When it comes to learning Mandarin, students might wonder where to go, China or Taiwan?
Relatively low tuition rates, favorable living conditions, and conducive Mandarin Chinese learning environment are some of the strong reasons why international students select Taiwan as their ideal study destination, especially after students calculate the living cost and quality in Taiwan and other countries.
Beijing and Shanghai are not easy cities for western students to live, just not to mention the painful air quality and environmental pollution. The average rent for apartment per month is around $975 USD in Shanghai, $921 USD in Beijing, but only $611 USD in Taipei. Students have to pay much higher for an OK standard in Shanghai or Beijing than in Taipei. In addition to price, ample supplies of stylish delicacies and energetic recreations must be accessible for youngsters after a hard-learning day. Of course, Taiwan is the 24-hour island for night-owls. Most important of all, most of them are very affordable.
Taiwan and China share the same culture and language. However, the outer appearances and inner mindsets are totally different. People easily see the apparent differences of the two countries. All in all, Taiwan is much friendlier, more laid-back, more easygoing, all around cooler, safer, more convenient to get around. In Taiwan exist more hidden gems, always ready to give you an unforgettable surprise.
Dong-Hua University, Taitung, Taiwan
Taiwan has an outstanding higher education system that provides opportunities for international students to study a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Chinese language and history to tropical agriculture and forestry, genetic engineering, business, semi-conductors and more. Chinese culture holds education and scholarship in high regard, and nowhere is this truer than in Taiwan. Thus, the educated class enjoys good respect and social status, resulting in a good education system in Taiwan. This also explains why a small island like Taiwan can be such a successful IT island.
The universities of Taiwan are not only broad in subjects, but also in geographical distribution. There are 167 universities on the island of Taiwan, which is only 36,000 square kilometers in territory. A simliar-sized country - Netherlands has only 37 universities. The education resources in Taiwan are the most accssible globally, averagely 137,000 persons share one university. Everywhere can you find Mandarin courses that are conducted by Sinology departments or Literature colleges in local universities. So we recommend you to live in the central or southern part of Taiwan, where the majority of people do not speak English. Many expats visit Taipei at first, then end up falling in love with the south of Taiwan. You will love the genuine Taiwan style and the unforgettable hospitality.
A great education can lead to a great future. There are many reasons international students see Taiwan as an exciting and rewarding place to pursue their education. Taiwan possesses all conditions for youngsters to fulfill their dreams.
Here is a chart of the most determinant reasons why the international students or scholars choose Taiwan.
BMT Team offers customized financial consultations. Here list only some common scholarships. Participants can skip the nagging processes and get quick suitable one via our assistance.
For the sole purpose of Chinese learning, Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) is the most ideal choice. A monthly stipend of NT$ 25,000 will be issued to applicants above the age of 18 from any non-Chinese-speaking countries.
Ministry of Education (MOE) offers 1,200 HES awards each year. However, there are only fewer than 800 recipients every year. You have very good chances to get this generous financial aid with the help of BMT team.
Four government agencies of Taiwan, the Ministry of Education (MOE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), and National Science Council of the Executive Yuan (NSC), jointly established the Taiwan Scholarship System to attract outstanding international students. Details about each of the Taiwan scholarships are shown below. Some universities offer special scholarships.
|Office||Program Level||Criteria||Scholarship Amount||Duration of Award|
|MOE||Pre-degree Mandarin Language Enrichment Programs (LEP), Undergraduate Programs, Graduate Programs||Recipients from countries other than those eligible to receive MOFA scholarship||A monthly stipend of NTD 25,000 (≒ $833 USD) for undergraduate or LEP study, and NTD 30,000 (≒$1,000 USD) for graduate degree program||
LEP: maximum 1 year
Master's program: maximum 2 years
Doctoral program: maximum 3 years
Undergraduate program: maximum 4 years
|MOFA||Recipients from countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan||One economy class, direct route roundtrip international airfare, plus a monthly stipend of NTD 30,000 (≒$1,000 USD)|
|MOEA||Graduate Program only||Recipients from countries other than those special in the MOFA scholarship||A monthly stipend of NTD 30,000 (≒$1,000 USD)|
|NSC||Graduate programs in science and technology (physics, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, medicine and agriculture science, to name a few)||Recipients from countries other than those special in the MOFA scholarship||A monthly stipend of NTD 30,000 (≒$1,000 USD)|
The importance of Mandarin Chinese goes without saying. Daughters of Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin have started learning it. Mandarin schools grow rampantly all over the world. Students are using iTalki or hiring tutors, Skyping with native Chinese speakers. Parents are recruiting Chinese-speaking nannies and stocking kids' playrooms with Disney videos in Mandarin—not to mention the iPhone apps aimed at making kids into Mandarin speakers. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, says: Get many more kids learn Mandarin. They will seal tomorrow's business deals!