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Traditional Chinese characters refer to one of several standard sets of characters used to write Chinese languages. In Taiwan, the set of traditional characters is regulated by Taiwan's Ministry of Education, standardized in the Standard Form of National Characters. These forms were predominant in written Chinese until the middle of the 20th century, when various countries that use Chinese characters began standardizing simplified sets of characters, often with characters that existed before as well-known variants of the predominant forms.
|standardized in Taiwan since 1979|
|ISO 15924||Hant (502), Han (Traditional variant)|
|This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.|
|Traditional Chinese characters|
|Literal meaning||Orthodox form characters|
|Literal meaning||Complex form characters|
|Chinese family of scripts|
Simplified characters—as codified by the People's Republic of China—are predominantly used in mainland China, Malaysia, and Singapore. "Traditional" as such is a retronym applied to non-simplified character sets in the wake of widespread use of simplified characters. Traditional characters are commonly used in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as in most overseas Chinese communities outside of Southeast Asia. As for non-Chinese languages written using Chinese characters, Japanese kanji include many simplified characters known as shinjitai standardized after World War II, sometimes distinct from their Simplified Chinese counterparts. Korean hanja, still used to a certain extent in South Korea, remain virtually identical to traditional characters, with variations between the two forms largely stylistic.
There is a long-running debate about traditional and simplified Chinese characters within and between Chinese communities. Because the simplifications are fairly systematic, it is possible to convert computer-encoded characters between the two sets, with the main issue being the merger of traditional characters into single simplified representations, which creates ambiguity when converting simplified characters to traditional characters. Many Chinese online newspapers allow users to switch between these character sets.
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