Archive for Diglossia and digraphia

A Dartmouth grad's contribution to the development of Hangul

The current issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine includes an article by Karl Schutz and Jun Bum Sun that made me sit bolt upright:

"The Chosŏn One:  The influence of Homer Hulbert, class of 1884, lives on in a country far from his home" (Jul-Aug, 2015).

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (10)

Digraphia and bilingualism in a Nissan ad

Photograph of a Chinese ad spotted in a Beijing elevator by David Moser, who also provided much of the analysis that follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (13)

Digraphia and intentional miswriting

I received the following message from David Moser on 6/2/11, but it got lost in my inbox until just now when I was able to retrieve it while cleaning out a bunch of old and unwanted messages:

Wow, talk about digraphia!  I just got this text message on my cell phone here in Beijing:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (13)

Starvations

Nathan Hopson sent in this photo (from Nagoya, Japan, but there are similar stores all over Japan):

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (15)

Ko P

Just in case you hadn't seen this in the news, the winner of the Taipei mayoral election held on November 28, 2014 is Ko Wen-je (Kē Wénzhé 柯文哲), a trauma surgeon who ran as an independent.

"Pro-independence party candidate Ko Wen-je claims victory in Taipei mayor race"
The Straits Times (11/29/14)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (20)

English as ruby annotation for Chinese

Something very interesting is going on in this panel (as usual, click to embiggen):

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (12)

Is the Urdu script on the verge of dying?

Hindi-Urdu, also referred to as Hindustani, is the classic case of a digraphia, so much so that there has been a long-standing controversy over whether they are one language or two.  Their colloquial spoken forms are nearly identical, but when written down, the one in the Devanāgarī script, the other in the Nastaʿlīq script, they have a very different look and "feel".

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (56)

"Frozen" in Arabic

The New Yorker blog has an online article by Elias Muhanna entitled "Translating 'Frozen' Into Arabic".  What's noteworthy is that Disney's "Frozen" was translated into Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), while previous Disney releases were translated into Egyptian Arabic.  Somewhat oddly, the author compares MSA vis-à-vis colloquial forms of Arabic with both King James Bible English / sportscaster English and Latin quatrains / hiphop French.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (20)

Great taste

Victor Steinbok sent in this photograph of a dim sum restaurant in Boston:


Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (30)

English or Mandarin as the World Language?

Over at Lingua Franca, fellow Language Log author Geoffrey Pullum has an excellent article entitled "There Was No Committee".

Here's a key paragraph:

Some people talk as if Mandarin Chinese was gaining on English. It is not, and it never will. A Tamil-speaking computer scientist explaining an algorithm to a Hungarian scientist at a Japanese-organized scientific meeting in Thailand calls on English, not Chinese. Nowhere in the world do we find significant numbers of non-Chinese speakers choosing Mandarin as the medium for bridging language gaps. There are no signs of that changing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (73)

"I tell you"

Bruce Rusk, in a comment to "A bilingual, biscriptal product designation in Taiwan", mentioned "the informal Taiwanese Mandarin pronunciation of 給 ('give') gei3 as gie (3rd tone?), which is not a 'legal' Mandarin syllable" and noted that he "always assumed it was influenced by Taiwanese."

Bruce's mention of "給 ('give') gei3" in turn reminds me of a related Taiwanese-Mandarin interference that affected my own speech in a profound way.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (25)

A bilingual, biscriptal product designation in Taiwan

Well, it's not quite as complex as the mixture of languages and scripts that we addressed in "A trilingual, triscriptal ad in the Taipei subway", but the following group of four characters and four phonetic symbols on the container of a fish-based food flavoring (here's the company's web page for this project) raises plenty enough interesting issues to merit its own post.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5)

A trilingual, triscriptal ad in the Taipei subway

Mark Swofford took these photographs of an advertisement for a very well-known brand of instant noodles in the Taipei MRT (subway system). It makes use of three scripts (Chinese characters [including some rare, non-standard forms], bopomofo / zhùyīn fúhào 注音符號 [Mandarin "Phonetic Symbols" of the Republic of China, and Roman letters) and possibly as many languages (Taiwanese, Japanese, English) — with Mandarin apparently *not* being among them.


Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (29)