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Speed of writing is cited as an advantage of simplified Chinese over traditional, which is especially important for schoolchildren, but are there any studies or measurements to this effect? How much faster is it really to write simplified, given similar skill levels?

I'm referring to writing all the strokes, by hand. Of course the differences disappear if people are writing cursive, or electronically using IMEs.

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This paper concludes: 1) in the test of sample text, the 1128 traditional characters' strokes are on average 6.69 stroke-per-character more than the simplified ones. 2) in the high-frequency text test, 3479 traditional characters' strokes are only on average 6.69 stroke-per-character more. Now I cannot read the whole paper but I highly doubt if its statistical methodology is sound -- you know, as the situation 99 persons have no money but 1 is a billionaire will result in they're "millionaires" on average. It's unfair. –  Stan Oct 4 '13 at 12:31
    
Sorry for my typo above. "2) in the high-frequency text test, 3479 traditional characters' strokes are only on average 6.69 stroke-per-character more" should be 2.19 stroke-per-character. –  Stan Oct 4 '13 at 18:05
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@Stan, you omitted to mention that the additional 2.19 strokes is equivalent to 30% more strokes in that test, which is statistically significant no matter how you look at it. –  杨以轩 Oct 5 '13 at 4:09
    
@QuestionOverflow that sentence is a little vague. If so, 2.19/0.3=7.3 should be the average stroke of a frequently-used simplified character. However according to 百度百科, 简化后平均笔画是10.3画, it confuses me "can the frequently-used simplified characters be so much simpler than 10.3" so I decide not to mention that before I can read the whole paper. –  Stan Oct 5 '13 at 4:37
    
@Stan, if you want to rely on a certain analysis, it is always better to present the full picture if presenting half of it can lead to misleading conclusion. If we go by what Baidu says, then the gap is even wider at 10.3 strokes for simplified compared to 16 strokes for traditional. A range between 30%(the paper) to 55%(Baidu) looks quite reasonable to me based on Congliu's test below. –  杨以轩 Oct 5 '13 at 5:20

1 Answer 1

  1. How much faster is it really to write simplified, given similar skill levels?

    Basically, writing simplified characters (SC) can be faster than traditional characters (TC).

    SC comes into stage primarily because of its handy characteristics. Some people really want to boost up the writing speed, among other personal reasons, and there's no such awesome typing machine like notebook today, so what can they do is fairly predictable, such as scribbling around, or just dropping some elements.

  2. Speed of writing is cited as an advantage of simplified Chinese over traditional, which is especially important for schoolchildren, but are there any studies or measurements to this effect?

    Provide you with my own experiment result here. I've timed and written the above Wiki page with its first two paragraphs in the introduction part, both SC version and TC version. There're 306 characters. It took me:

    • 14 minutes 43 seconds (883 seconds) to write up the SC version or 2.9 seconds per character on average, and
    • 21 minutes 36 seconds (1296 seconds) to write up the TC version or 4.2 seconds per character on average.

    Didn't write pretty well, just everyday performance.

    The scan of my writing

    SC-vs-TC-writing-speed-test

    SC version script

    汉字简化争论是一个讨论汉字之正式字体的话题。由于中国大陆、香港、台湾的使用习惯、文化认同及意识形态不同,而持续被提出来争论。汉字文化圈其他国家如日本、越南则较少关注这一争论。1这里所谓的“汉字简化”,主要针对的是中华人民共和国所推行的简化字,台湾和香港地区并不采用,并有普遍的激烈批评。本条目中的“繁体字”是中国大陆对传统汉字字体的称呼,在香港、澳门等地区也较常使用此名称,中华民国(台湾)官方称之为“正体字”[2][3][4]。现行中国大陆的简体字属于毛泽东时代下,为响应苏联国际化语言而推动汉字拉丁化(废除汉字)的政治性产物。简体字仅是废除汉字前的过渡性措施。[5][6]1985年12月,国务院决定将中国文字改革委员会改名为国家语言文字工作委员会,强调国家语委要“促进语言文字的规范化、标准化”,这表明拼音化道路已被放弃。[7]

    TC version script

    漢字簡化爭論是一個討論漢字之正式字體的話題。由於中國大陸、香港、台灣的使用習慣、文化認同及意識形態不同,而持續被提出來爭論。漢字文化圈其他國家如日本、越南則較少關注這一爭論。1這裡所謂的「漢字簡化」,主要針對的是中華人民共和國所推行的簡化字,台灣和香港地區並不採用,並有普遍的激烈批評。本條目中的「繁體字」是中國大陸對傳統漢字字體的稱呼,在香港、澳門等地區也較常使用此名稱,中華民國(台灣)官方稱之為「正體字」[2][3][4]。現行中國大陸的簡體字屬於毛澤東時代下,為響應蘇聯國際化語言而推動漢字拉丁化(廢除漢字)的政治性產物。簡體字僅是廢除漢字前的過渡性措施。[5][6]1985年12月,國務院決定將中國文字改革委員會改名為國家語言文字工作委員會,強調國家語委要「促進語言文字的規範化、標準化」,這表明拼音化道路已被放棄。[7]

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+1 for the experimentalism :D BTW, in your daily life, do you write SC or TC? If you're familiar with writing SC, this experiment can be criticized for your possible lacking experience of writing TC. –  Stan Oct 4 '13 at 14:33
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Thanks for encouraging :D My hand cramped up... I've been switching to TC for about a few years. SC is really fast. –  congliu Oct 4 '13 at 14:38
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Not only speed but less pencil sharpening/ink :-) And eye strain for us folks with bad eyesight. –  Steve Oct 4 '13 at 15:08
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I tried this paragraph too. And my result was: 15:15 for SC and 17:13 for TC. Both are written in running script by a gel pen (when writing TC I was intentional to speed up a little so it looked ugly). Anyway, I believe writing SC is easier. –  Stan Oct 4 '13 at 16:47
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Definitely TC writes slower... so in Taiwan the students in secondary or high school have classes of simplified Chinese so they can write faster when taking notes and so on... Of course, their simplification does not match that in mainland China exactly, for instance, 專 is simplified to 专 as in mainland China while 團 is simplified to 囗 + 专 instead of 囗 + 才 as in mainland China. This is more logical because 專 in 團 is the pronunciation indicator, so the form like 团 does not really make sense. –  user58955 Oct 4 '13 at 20:51

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