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Whilst typing the character 起 on my Mac, I notice that the character appears differently, illustrated in the picture below.

enter image description here

On some programs, the character appears with an extra stroke, on others it doesn't. I am more familiar with the character without the stroke, as I've seen in previously in textbooks.

What is the difference between the two characters (or are they the same), what is the reason for this difference and does its usage depend on different contexts?

  • This is mostly a font issue, as others have mentioned. It's somewhat tricky, because some characters are different in simplified and traditional (say 买 and 買), but the character variants you list are technically the same character, rendered differently in different fonts. Mainland China prefers one style, Taiwan another, as indicated by others. I tried to sort out this mess for learners in two articles, which explains this case, among many others: hackingchinese.com/… – Olle Linge Aug 22 at 21:06
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These two are completely the same, they are just two different writing systems. 起 without a stroke is the simplified Chinese which is used in mainland China and Singapore while the character with a stroke is the traditional Chinese form which is mainly used in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Different forms of 起 in different regions

Above is an image from Baidu, it illustrates the different forms of this character in different countries and regions. From left to right is: China mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and the old form (which appears in 康熙字典, a very comprehensive Chinese dictionary compiled in Qing Dynasty).

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  • Interesting, what I'm wondering is why one character appears in the preview, whilst the other (with the extra stroke) appears in the textbox. Might be an inconsistency in the implementation on Macs. – Lewis T. May 27 at 14:47
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    @LewisT. It's because different fonts are used to show the characters. If you use a font such as PingFang SC (the PingFang fonts should be installed on most Macs), it shows the Mainland China version. If you use a font such as PingFang HK, it shows the Hong Kong version. You can try this out in your favourite word processor. – Sweeper May 27 at 20:18

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