Different strokes dating

"We see Taiwan as the sole place to pass on traditional Chinese characters," says Kevin Ruan, chief executive of tech firm Whale Party, which developed the app with Soochow University.

"We hope the app reflects the cultural implications of the script." Predictive and voice activated messaging on smartphones is one of the reasons traditional characters are under threat, he adds, but says the initial reaction to the app has been encouraging -- over 5,000 people have downloaded a trial version ahead of the official launch in December.

And with an increasing number of the island's young people pursuing higher education and careers on the mainland, the influence of the simplified system is expanding.

" promotes the complex script and a new set of six stamps, embossed with lines and strokes, can together create all traditional Chinese words.Foreigners learning Chinese also tend to be taught the simplified characters, used in official documents by international organisations including the United Nations.Even in Taiwan, where most people still use traditional characters, there is a growing tendency to opt for the more convenient simplified script.- Easy learning - But for many, the bottom line is pragmatism.Young Taiwanese design duo Wang Man-lin and Wang Chieh-ying hope their latest invention will make traditional characters easier to learn and fun to use.

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