of these articles is concerned with the simplified Chinese characters; for the designation name for plastics, see abbreviation (plastic).
Vergleich von Langzeichen und Kurzzeichen (rot: beiden Systemen Gemeinsames, grün: Langzeichen, lila: Kurzzeichen)
Comparison of long characters and abbreviations (red: both systems common, green: Long character, lila: Abbreviation)

abbreviation (Chinese: 簡體字 (traditionally) , 简体字 (simplified) , jiǎntǐzì (pinyin)) is the simplified version of the traditional long characters of the Chinese writing.

table of contents


the word Hanzi (Chinese indications) in abbreviation
the word Hanzi (Chinese indications) in long characters

in January 1956 issued the government of the People's Republic of China the “plan for the simplification of the Chinese writing” (Hanzi jianhua catch' on 《汉字简化方案》), with which 515 characters and 54 components of characters were simplified. The simplification of the characters were an element of the writing reform, which popularize first the Standardsprache, characters to simplify and by a latin writing possibly replace should. In April 1964 a further reform step was undertaken and the “complete list of the simplified characters” (Jianhua Hanzi zongbiao 《简化汉字总表》) was published. It contained 2236 indications. In December 1977 the Chinese government published „the second plan for the simplification of the Chinese writing (draft) “(the-he ci Hanzi jianhua catch' on (cao' on) 《第二次汉字简化方案 (草案)》), further 853 characters and 61 components of indications simplified. This draft was however often criticized and hardly converted. 1986 were easily revised again published the list of 1964 and the reform step was put from 1977 ad acta.

These simplified indications are used also by the Chinese in Singapore. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as well as most Chinese living for political reasons in the exile did not introduce the simplifications against it.

The simplification consisted of standardizing the indications i.e. to eliminate possible variants to reduce and the number of the lines. That was reached above all by in which one transferred variants from the handwriting to the block letters. The large number of simplified characters (several thousands) comes off above all by the fact that also components were simplified, which occurred in many characters (radicals). Officially the characters were simplified according to the following ten methods:

methods of the indication zeichenverkürzung

  • preservation of the original outline: 傘 → 伞, 齒 → 齿
  • preservation of a part of the original indication: 飛 → 飞, 鄉 → 乡
  • simplification either the Signifikums or phonetics around of according to developed characters: 燈 → 灯 (Phonetikum deng replaced by thing), 骯 → 肮 (Signifikum bone replaced by meat), 護 → 护
  • exchange of a part by a Phonetikum: 態 → 态 (Phonetikum tai above), 郵 → 邮 (Phonetikum you left)
  • assumption of handwritten forms into the block letters: 專 → 专, 樂 → 乐
  • use of old variants: 雲 → 云, 遞 → 递
  • exchange of complicated components by simple symbols: 漢 → 汉, 鄧 → 邓
  • creation of new indications from two Signifika: 麈 → 尘 (small plus earth), 筆 → 笔 (bamboo plus hair)
  • replacement of whole indications: 義 → 义, 頭 → 头 (this method is quite arbitrary and concerns only few indications, but it acts thereby partially. over very frequently) exchange
  • used by a directly expressed indication of other meaning: 谷 → 穀, 齣 → 出

outside of the People's Republic of China

some characters are after the simplification for Chinese from Taiwan or Hong Kong or the Diaspora (overseas Chinese), where the long characters in use remained to recognize hardly still again during humans from the People's Republic of China usually the non-simplified characters only passively - if at all - control.

In the actual use, in which handwriting, both at the mainland and in Taiwan many indications become in a way simplified, which is not standardized. Instead of the long character 點 for example in Taiwan in the handwriting usually 奌 one writes. The official abbreviation at the mainland is 点. Also in Taiwan is common 号 as simplification of 號, although it concerns only at the mainland a standardized abbreviation.

Also in Japan characters were simplified, but not in as high extent as in the People's Republic of China, and the Japanese simplified forms often do not correspond to those, which are used in the People's Republic of China.


it is today disputed whether the abbreviations really represent a progress. By the simplification the indications become among themselves necessarily more similarly, so that the letter is facilitated and accelerated, but partially. Meaning meanings and etymologischer background is lost; according to some cognitive science-learn exert the smaller differences between the abbreviations also the memory during the reading more strongly. Particularly during electronic text processing the simplified indications have hardly advantages, those the disadvantages to counterbalance could and it give few references for the fact that the simplified indications are to be learned actually more easily.

The use of the standardized simplified indications within the public range is legally prescribed in the People's Republic of China, but particularly in Werbeaufschriften frequently traditional indications are used.

Not least it is and is criticized that from the simplification also the aesthetics, beauty and beauty of the Chinese indications suffer and/or. disappears. In the Kalligraphie e.g. also in the VR China today still for large parts long character are used.


long character abbreviation Japanese note
form standardizes, which handwriting simplifies
approximate 国 less common version to the standard
raised 門 handwritten variant to block letters
transferred 竜 handwritten variant to block letters transferred, to Japan differently
simplified 語 a component left after handwriting
simplified 幾 indications with other meaning and same discussion
transferred 伝 indications to China and to Japan differently. The form used in Japan is handwritten usual also in Taiwan.



  > German to English > (Machine translated into English)