Variant Chinese character

Variant Chinese character

Variant Chinese characters (zh-tsp|t=異體字|s=异体字|p=yìtǐzì) are Chinese characters that can be used interchangeably. They are allographs, having the same pronunciation and meaning, but being different in appearance. Some characters are interchangeable in all circumstances, while others are interchangeable only in some contexts and are distinct in others.

Variant Chinese characters exist within and across all regions making use of Chinese characters, whether Chinese-speaking (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore), Japanese-speaking (Japan), or Korean-speaking (North Korea, South Korea).

Many of the governments in the above places have made efforts to standardize the use of variants, by establishing one or more variants as "standard" and demoting the other variants as "nonstandard". The choice of which variant to use has resulted in some divergence in the Chinese characters used in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea; this effect compounds with the already drastic divergence in the standard Chinese character sets of these regions resulting from the character simplications pursued by mainland China and by Japan.

Unicode deals with variant characters in a complex manner, as a result of the process of Han unification. In Han unification, some variants that are nearly identical between Chinese-, Japanese-, Korean-speaking regions are treated as the same character, and can only be distinguished using different fonts; while other variants that are more divergent are treated as separate characters.

Example Characters

The following are some examples of variant forms of Chinese characters:

External links

* [ Dictionary of Chinese Character Variants]

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