Simplified Chinese characters currently in use in mainland China have received a positive evaluation that they have greatly contributed to eradicating illiteracy by making it easier to learn Chinese characters. However, at the same time, arguments on the way of simplifying Chinese characters have been raised continuously. This paper discussed the simplified Chinese characters in terms of Chinese character education. By presenting many examples, this study proved that simplified Chinese characters are hindering systematic Chinese character education because the excessive decrease in the number of strokes in simplified Chinese characters considerably destroyed the system of Chinese characters.
More specifically, this study exemplified the cases where such excessive decrease in the number of strokes in simplified Chinese characters destroyed the system of traditional phonological series, thereby increasing the shapes of letters that should be learned through mere memorization, and where such excessive decrease in the number of strokes in simplified Chinese characters made the elements of Chinese characters complex, thereby increasing the burden of memorization. Through such cases, this study identified that learning Chinese characters did not become easier by merely decreasing the number of strokes.
Chinese characters are complex in shape and their number is large compared to other phonetic symbols. Therefore, its constituting principle should be learned through systematic learning methods. When merely memorizing Chinese characters, learning efficiency is very low and memory does not last long with such method. Realistically, Korean learners of Chinese language should learn simplified Chinese characters but it is difficult for them to understand the constituting principle of Chinese characters by only studying simplified Chinese characters, and the learners may consider that Chinese characters are merely codes they should memorize. Thus, at least students majoring in Chinese language in their college should learn simplified Chinese characters and traditional Chinese characters together to have a systematic knowledge on Chinese characters.