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Java tools for learning and maintaining Chinese: Self-quiz on traditional vs. simplified characters

To launch: Click here

Version: 1.0 (beta)


This program is designed for those who are familiar with simplified Chinese characters and would like to learn, or review, their traditional equivalents. It contains a collection of characters whose simplified and traditional versions are more than trivially distinct from one another. Some basic and some more advanced vocabulary items are included, but none more obscure than might be found in a newspaper article.


Your computer should have Java (the Java Runtime Environment) installed.

You may need to enable your computer's support for East Asian languages if it is not already activated. In particular, at least one Unicode-friendly (UTF8) Chinese font is required.


Launching the program shuffles the set of characters and brings up a window with one traditional character in it.

You may work with either the mouse or the keyboard. To use the keyboard, whether at the outset or after having clicked buttons with the mouse, it is necessary first to click once inside the center area of the main window.

Clicking the "Simplified" button (S on the keyboard), or the "Pinyin" button (P on the keyboard), shows the simplified version or phonetic representation, respectively, of the current character. You may also check the "Cizu" box to see not just the single character but a word group containing that character.

To quiz yourself, click "Correct" for each item you know and "Wrong" for each item you do not, or press C or W on the keyboard. The program keeps track of your progress. After working your way through the entire set, or at any time, you may wish to click "Sort" to bring the characters you got wrong to the top of the set for further review. Shuffling the set, of course, randomly rearranges it. The quiz is more challenging, naturally, in single-character rather than Cizu mode.

Instead of quizzing yourself, or while doing so, you may also browse through the set of characters. They are arranged in a grid pattern just like a spreadsheet. The arrow keys, the home key, and the end key are available for navigation. If you check "Auto-Browse," the program will flip through the characters one by one.

Feedback: Comments, suggestions (for example, characters that should be added), and bug reports are welcome.

Click here for a self-quiz on Chinese surnames.