Archive for Typography

"Collapsed" calligraphy, part 2

New article by Nyri Bakkalian in Unseen Japan (9/17/22):

"New App Promises Greater Convenience in Reading Old Japanese Cursive:

Kuzushiji, the 'crushed letters' found in historical Japanese documents, have long been the bane of scholars. A new app may change all that."

The author bemoans:

During my graduate education in Japanese history, interpreting handwritten primary source material from the 19th century and earlier was one of my greatest challenges. Typeset historic documents exist, especially in my period of focus during the Bakumatsu-Meiji transition. But the further back in time one’s research focus is situated, the rarer these documents become. There is a plethora of handwritten documents, written in historic cursive, but learning how to read them is a significant investment of time and resources beyond the means of most people who might otherwise have the inclination to learn.

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Choose your font carefully

(Source)

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Decolonizing Chinese fonts by probing the past

New article by Brian Ng in Rest of World (9/6/21):

"Revolutionary type: Meet the designer decolonizing Chinese fonts

Julius Hui, who has done custom work for companies like Tencent, wants to radically rethink Chinese fonts."

I find this article to be curiously counterintuitive:  Julius Hui, the font designer, wants to revolutionize Chinese typography by hearkening back to a time before modern (say, the last four or five hundred years) fonts for typesetting.  That would be like telling designers of modern fonts for northern European languages to go back to the 4th-century pre-Gothic script of Ulfilas (or Wulfila) to develop a "revolutionary" new script for English or for designers of modern fonts for southern European languages to go back to the uncial majuscule script of roughly the same time period that was used for Greek and Latin.

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Another chapter in the history of the Chinese typewriter

Brian Merriman ran into this article and device when researching electronic typewriters from the 1980s:

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Charaelerislie

Francois Lang sent in this menu from YU Noodles Cafe in Rockville, MD:

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Creative kanji

[The following is a guest post by Nathan Hopson]

The results are in from the 11th Kanji Creation Contest (Sōsaku Kanji Kontesuto), sponsored by Sankei Shinbun newspaper and the Shirakawa Shizuka Institute of East Asian Characters and Culture at Ritsumeikan University. Out of a total of over 26,000 entries in the general, high school, and elementary and middle school divisions, the overall winner was a very 2020 take on the character 座 (za, “to sit”).

Example 1

Fig. 1 Standard (left) and prizewinning creative kanji for “to sit.”

The character (in both its standard and creative forms) is made up of three elements:

  1. 广

Of these, it is the last that is subtly manipulated here. That element, also an independent kanji in its own right, means “person.” By moving the two “people” apart, the contest winner expressed the idea of “sitting apart,” or social distancing.

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The difference between deformation and devoidness

Final panel of this New York Times article:  "What You Can No Longer Say in Hong Kong" (9/4/20), by Jin Wu and Elaine Yu:

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Typing by voice recognition

E-mail message from my son, Thomas Krishna:

I'm using the voice recognizer to write you this message. When you do take your truck in for service at Toyota place, ask them if an exterior cleaning is included. Having visited you over the years I know that where you park a lot of tree debris falls onto your vehicles! This is no big deal, except for one thing, you don't want stuff to fall on top of your vents right in front of where the windshield is. I had this problem with my truck under the crepe myrtles at Lacey's house. For a while I tried using cardboard cutouts to cover them up but they did not last very well in the Sun and rain. I know that at your place things dropping off the trees is almost a continuous problem whereas for me it was only in the fall. So just thinking maybe you should try to find something that can cover those vents for when your truck is parked there.

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Legco logo

This is the logo of Legco, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong:

It is a stylization of the "lap立" ("set up; erect; establish; enact") of:

Hoeng1gong2 dak6bit6 hang4zing3 keoi1 lap6faat3 wui6 (Jyutping)

Hēunggóng dahkbiht hàhngjing kēui laahpfaat wúih (Yale)

Xiānggǎng tèbié xíngzhèng qū lìfǎ huì (Hanyu pinyin)

香港特別行政區立法會

now written in PRC simplified characters as

香港特别行政区立法会

"Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region"

or, for short:

Laap6faat3 wui5 (Jyutping)

Laahp faat wúih (Yale)

Lìfǎ Huì (Hanyu pinyin)

立法會

now written in PRC simplified characters as

立法会

"Legislative Council"

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Typefaces of (anti-public-health) protest

The first of eight in a partial survey:

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Multilingual Utica confronts COVID-19

From Brenton Recht:

I live in a city with a large immigrant population in general and a large Bosnian population in particular (Utica, NY [VHM: population around 60,000; between Syracuse and Schenectady]). As such, I see "BiH" bumper stickers once in a while on the road. Most of the Bosnian population either came during the breakup of Yugoslavia or are children of those immigrants, so they are probably following the American trend of putting round stickers on your car for things you like or identify with, rather than the European usage of using them to identify country of origin.

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"One I first saw": more on homophonically induced typing errors

A little over a week ago, I described how I mistyped "stalk" for "stock".  That led to a vigorous discussion of precisely how people pronounce "stalk".  (As a matter of fact, in my own idiolect I do pronounce "stock" and "stalk" identically.)  See:

"Take stalk of: thoughts on philology and Sinology" (3/29/20)

I just now typed "One I first saw…" when I meant "When I first saw…".

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Hong Kong government poster

From Donald Clarke:

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