Archive for Alphabets

Apostrophe in Hebrew

We've already looked at the use of an apostrophe in Hangul.  Now Wendy Heller has sent in this photograph of a shop sign in Haifa, Israel:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (16)

Konglish, ch. 2

A little over a year ago, we had our first look at "Konglish", Korean-style English.  If it was thriving then, it seems to be positively luxuriant now:

"The Beauty and Perils of Konglish, the Korean-English Hybrid" (Margaret Rhodes, WIRED, 9/29/16)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)

Japan: crazy over portmanteaux

No matter where I go these days, I hear young people shouting to their friends, "I'm playing Pokémon Go", which they pronounce "pokey-mon go".  It would be an understatement to say that, for the past few weeks, Pokémon Go has been a veritable craze.  Yet most people who play the game probably do not realize that the name "Pokémon" is a Japanese portmanteau based on two English words:  poketto ポケット ("pocket") + monsutā モンスター ("monster"). 

"What's in a name — Pikachu, Beikaciu, Pikaqiu?" (5/31/16)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (37)

Writing Shanghainese, part 2

No one in this Douban thread (so far) can identify the script in the image below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (3)

Tones and the alphabet

The question of whether tones are added to alphabet words used in Sinitic languages arose in the discussion that followed this post:

"Papi Jiang: PRC internet sensation" (4/25/16)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (44)

From Alphabet to Google

Google has picked "Alphabet" as the name for its new parent company:

"‘Alphabet,’ From Ancient Greece to Google", by Ben Zimmer, in Word on the Street, Wall Street Journal (8/13/15)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (5)

Printing error on a Chinese lunch delivery bag

Eric Pelzl sent in this photograph of a bag from a lunch delivery that contains an interesting printing error:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (2)

Pop Japonesque nonsense?

[This is a guest post by Nathan Hopson]

Amazon's App Store for Android features a free daily app. The selection of a few days ago caught my eye not for the content of the app itself, but for the nonsensical (and incorrect) use of Japanese.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

Roman letter shapes in Japanese

[A guest post by Nathan Hopson]

Recently, I encountered two examples of the intriguing use of roman letters in Japanese to describe various shapes and parts of the nether regions of human anatomy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (8)

How Mandarin became China's national language

K Chang asked:

Possible topic for Prof Mair: Any one know what is this "Wang ts Joa" writing system, allegedly a topolect writing system for Chinese?

Here's a specimen of the script in question, from imgur:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (9)

Sino-Nipponica

Back in mid-December, 2013, I started assembling materials for a post about the differences between Chinese and Japanese writing.  I think that someone (I forget who) sent me a couple of links that stimulated me to think about this topic, and then I added some things of my own.  That was about as far as I got, though, so the would-be post was filed away in my drafts folder until I stumbled upon it today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (20)

Pinyin with Chinese characters

Matt Keefe came across this sign on a San Francisco streetcar in April:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (23)

Pinyin without Chinese characters

Occasionally one encounters pinyin with no hanzi (Chinese characters); see at the bottom of this photograph taken by Randy Alexander at a small mall right across from the main entrance to Xiamen (Amoy) University:

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (17)