Problem displaying traditional Chinese characters

I’m using the Vocabulary page to add new items, and strangely, for some of the Chinese words that I enter in traditional form, they show up on the Vocab page in simplified, despite editing and reentering them in traditional form. For most of my entries it seems they retain the traditional form, but for others, they are inexplicably displayed in simplified. This applies both to its entry on the page and on the LingQ widget. I can’t seem to figure out what’s causing one entry to “stay put” and another to change like that. Is there anything that can be done? Thanks for any help.

Hi Chris,

We don’t actually support traditional Chinese on LingQ, and all traditional text in lessons will automatically be converted to simplified. I assume the same automatic conversion is taking place with some of these LingQs.

Can you give us examples of some words that stay in traditional and some words that are converted to simplified?

Hi Alex,

Thanks for the reply. I do have a Firefox plugin that temporarily converts pages to and from the two character sets, so if I ever want to print lists, I could simply convert it beforehand. It’s just a little odd that some change and some don’t. Here are a few examples:

应许, 点名, 等级, 术语 and 总算 (among others) for example stay in simplified.

許久 and 演講詞 (among most others) are fine and remain in traditional.

The Chinese section of LingQ has become fully unusable (for me).

When I import:
你 是 做 什麼 的 ?
我 是 老師 。 你 呢 ?
我 是 生意人 。 你 喜歡 你 的 工作 嗎 ?
是的 。 我 很 喜歡 。

the lesson becomes:
你 是 做 什么 的 ?
我 是 老师 。 你 呢 ?
我 是 生意人 。 你 喜欢 你 的 工作 吗 ?
是的 。 我 很 喜欢 。

but only the text on the work desk. The print screen text seems ok and unchanged.

This must have been changed in the last weeks.
LingQ seems to force me to learn simplified characters.
What is the reason for this?

@Chris - Thanks. We’ll take a look at this!

@hape - The simple reason is that our word splitting algorithm doesn’t work with traditional characters. As I mention above, we don’t actually support traditional text at this time. Therefore, in order to make the text split correctly we now display all text in simplified on the lesson page. The original text intact, allowing users to access the original version.

I do recommend using the Script Conversion section in the resources to input traditional text so that you can have access to both the simplified and traditional while studying the lesson.

I too noticed this. But it’s understandable.
Or else you’d have them getting mixed up in the lingqs and word counts. Making things messy.

I do hope they’ll be a way to get to choose to learn in either traditional or simplified in the future.
Which I wouldn’t know anything about, it’s probably a big grey area.

In the future, traditional characters will be needed for Cantonese, so I wonder what will happen there.

At that point we’ll probably look at supporting traditional characters, but for the time being we will only support simplified characters in the text.

Thanks for the info. I’m doing Mandarin with simplified before I do Cantonese, so I’m in no rush personally. Just always interested in the evolution of the site. You should draw me a map, Alex. :smiley:

Here’s a rough sketch:

AWESOME! Thanks for that!

By the way, you’re very artistic Alex. :slight_smile:

Thanks. :slight_smile: Glad I could be of service.

To me, the “rough sketch” above seems to be some kind of irony.

When Chinese was BETA, and had not the automatic word splitting feature (all texts needed spaces to indicate word boundaries), one could use LingQ for trad. characters without any problems.

Then the automatic word splitting (only for simpl. characters) was introduced. The automatic splitting in trad. texts was poor and often wrong, but LingQ could still be used for trad. characters.

I always asked to introduce an option to switch this automatic word splitting off. But this was never done.

Instead, since a few weeks, automatic trad. to simpl. character conversion was implemented. All lessons uploaded by me with both simpl. and trad. scripts now display identical: simpl. and trad. versions are the same.

Now after 2-3 years since Chinese BETA, trad. Chinese that is used in Taiwan & HK and in foreign Chinese communities around the world, isn’t anymore possible to study @ LingQ.

To me, it’s a BIG, BIG step backwards.

[irony] OK, we are now able to learn here such important “world” languages like Norwegian, Dutch, or even Latin and Esperanto! [/irony]

Well, people have voted those languages in and that’s the reason they are here. The site here is not to determine which languages are ‘the most important’ (in whose eyes? Dutch and Latin are two I’m studying and they are very important to me). Instead, it’s about getting the most popular languages in - as best as is possible, if at possible at all. So, Mandarin can’t be in traditional because of the problems. Ok, it will come later.

Remember everyone, the site doesn’t programme itself! There are hard working monkeys working 24/7 on this!

@hape - The rough sketch wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. :slight_smile:

We’ll see if anything can be done. And as Imyirtseshem says, beta languages are up to the members in the community.

Of course we would like to satisfy all of our members requests for all languages. We are forced to make decisions on what to do and not to do. At present LingQing only works with simplified characters, and in my experience it works well for most words, and misses the odd combination.

I think that anyone learning Chinese today should learn simplified even if they are also learning traditional characters. Previously you could not study traditional texts on LingQ, whether Mandarin or Cantonese. Now you can import traditional texts, and read the traditional version in the resources section.

For LingQing you need to get used to simplified characters, which to me is a matter of weeks. I know because I started with traditional and then learned simplified, and now have no problem reading both.

You can also input the traditional characters into the Hint for review.

So, in my view, the present set up for Chinese, while not ideal for everyone, represents a good solution until we have the resources to set up full functionality for traditional. Bear in mind that the number of people studying traditional here is probably a handful or so, so it just cannot be a priority for us right now.

“I do recommend using the Script Conversion section in the resources to input traditional text so that you can have access to both the simplified and traditional while studying the lesson.”

Can this section also be used to input IPA characters to give pronunciation tips?

I see no reason why not, Helen. For which language?

The only concern is that the IPA is far less well known than say pinyin for Chinese language learners or other forms of transliteration for languages that use writing systems other than the Latin alphabet.

IPA, however, is far more precise. It’s a bit like common sense, Steve. A rare but wonderful thing. :slight_smile:

z vs c = ts vs tsʰ
j vs q = tɕ vs tɕʰ

I had no idea that aspiration was the main contrasting factor in Mandarin until I looked at its IPA. Before that, looking at pinyin like g and k (k vs kʰ), I thought it was voicing. IPA letters are given a particular value and that’s common across all languages. One can learn it and apply it across every language. So, when one needs to check pronunciation, IPA is a powerful tool. Pinyin works, counter-intuitively, for one.

Don’t get me going on the IPA. That is a whole discussion.

Some people love the IPA. I find that if I cannot hear a sound, I cannot pronounce it. tsʰ, tɕ, tɕʰ are meaningless to me. Once I hear how “q” is pronounced in Chinese I can start to attempt to make that sound.

Some people love the IPA, but to me it is hardly common sense. In any sense the IPA is not common knowledge and therefore may not be all that helpful for languages where other transliteration systems are widely used by learners. We have only one script conversion slot, so the IPA should not replace Pinyin for example.

For languages that use the Latin alphabet, however, the IPA provides additional information that may be helpful to some.