English New Year's couplet

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From Zeyao Wu:

Unsquared transcription:

Eat well sleep well each every day

Good health good wealth all year round.

Around this time of year, Chinese traditionally liked to post "spring couplets" (chūnlián 春聯 / 春联) — a special type of "antithetical couplet" (duìlián 對聯 / 对联) — on the door posts of their homes or elsewhere as auspicious decorations.  Here someone has fashioned a spring couplet from square word English calligraphy.

Spring couplets are typically heptasyllabic, and this one is heptagraphic.  In other respects, though, it is atypical, since it doesn't have a quadrisyllabic capping phrase for the lintel and is not really antithetical in its structure.  Moreover, it doesn't follow the usages of either of the two established versions of square word calligraphy (see "Readings" below).  The sentiment, however, is certainly suitable for best wishes at the advent of the Lunar New Year.

Happy Year of the Pig, everybody!


"An Introduction to Square Word Calligraphy" (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Xu Bing (developed in 1994)

"Square Word Calligraphy" (Omniglot), David B. Kelley (new version, 2012)

"Chinese characters formed from letters of the alphabet" (8/20/14)

"Sinographic memory in Vietnamese writing" (4/16/14)

"The unpredictability of Chinese character formation and pronunciation" (2/612)

"Book from the Sky" (1997)

"Book from the Ground" (12/5/12)

"Peppa Pig has been purged" (5/2/18)

"Peppa Pig uncensored — for now" (1/20/19)


  1. Rachael Churchill said,

    February 8, 2019 @ 4:46 am

    That's cleverly done.
    I'm glad it doesn't say "ache every day", as I first thought.

  2. John Rohsenow said,

    February 8, 2019 @ 6:25 am

    Looks a little like Hangul.

  3. Philip Taylor said,

    February 8, 2019 @ 6:38 am

    The image that Victor posted was good, but having following the links I think that the work by David Kelley (sample) is truly staggering.

  4. Dave Empey said,

    February 9, 2019 @ 12:08 am

    Could you use Square Word Calligraphy to write pinyin?

  5. David Marjanović said,

    February 10, 2019 @ 5:31 pm

    Brush strokes of genius.

    Could you use Square Word Calligraphy to write pinyin?

    Why not? Strokes (including "dots") similar in shape to the tone marks are available.

  6. TL said,

    February 19, 2019 @ 7:28 pm

    its almost exactly how korean letters work.

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