Alongside the many Chinese language dialects, there are also two sets of Chinese characters for written words. Singapore and mainland China use simplified Chinese characters while Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional.
Simplified characters are standardized Chinese characters for use in mainland China. The government of Chona promoted the use of this character set in printing since the 1950s in an attempt to increase literacy.
Simplified character forms are written by decreasing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of traditional Chinese characters. Some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character, usually the simplest amongst all variants in form. Finally, many characters were left untouched by simplification, and are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies.
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century (during the Southern and Northern Dynasties.) The retronym “traditional Chinese” is used to contrast traditional characters with Simplified Chinese characters,