Talk:Horizontal and vertical writing in East Asian scripts

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Vertical and horizontal[edit]

Someone's bound to ask, so let me point this out myself. One point that I had to think about before starting this article was the name of the article and what terminology to use. The problem is that yokogaki and tategaki mean not just vertical and horizontal but also imply the direction of succeeding lines of text. Also, tategaki can be horizontal text in one case, see the end of the article. I don't object to the glosses "horizontal writing" or "vertical writing", but there are a couple of issues, hence the use of "yokogaki and tategaki" rather than something as simple as "vertical and horizontal writing in Japanese". --DannyWilde 03:28, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

There don't seem to be any objections so far, but if necessary we could always alter the title to something like "direction of writing in Japanese."
On another note, I'm wondering what the problem was with the "nihongo" image. Your edit summary says it wasn't working properly, but I checked it several times over a number of edits and it looked fine on my screen. Although I like the other two images on the page, I really like that image because it's clean and clear, so I'd like to try to add it back in. Let me know if it doesn't look right. Exploding Boy 16:21, September 11, 2005 (UTC)
The problem was with the "Doraemon" image, the Nihongo image was fine. OK, we can leave "nihongo" there, although it's not as illustrative as the Doraemon picture. Also I lost the caption on the Doraemon image. Do you know how to make it appear? I'm planning to add one or two images to the "Right-to-left horizontal writing" part, and at that point I'll probably add the title back, but at the moment it can stay as it is. Believe it or not, I took a photo of a stand at the local festival without looking carefully, and it turned out to be the only stand without "right to left" writing on it. --DannyWilde 01:08, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

Ok, I think I've figured it out. To create a caption that appears in a box, type the following: [[Image:image_name.jpg|thumb|left, right or centre|number of pixels typed as a number followed by px, eg: 250px|caption.]] I've fixed the Doraemon picture, and it seems ok at 300px. Exploding Boy 02:14, September 12, 2005 (UTC)

Message to User:Tokek[edit]

This message was removed from Tokek's talk page and is moved here with links deleted. Since then I have edited it to make it a general discussion. See page history for details.

I noticed the following problems with some edits made by Tokek.

  1. The English was not correct. I tried to incorporate the valid points in what Tokek said into the existing paragraph in correct English, but following this my rewritten paragraph was destroyed again and replaced with the same badly written one.
    • You reverted whole sections of my edits. My edits were not primarily about grammar. Hence your edits were not primarily about fixing grammar. —Tokek 01:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I did try to incorporate what you said, I'm sorry if I misrepresented you. --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  1. The "usage" section deals with how yokogaki and tategaki are used. Therefore the paragraph moved into there about right-to-left writing did not belong in there. Perhaps the "Usage" section title is misleading. Can anyone think of a better one?
    • I've noticed that you've reverted my edits. Is your objection to the locating of right-to-left horizontal writing under the usage section because you don't consider it to be a form of tategaki or yokogaki, or is it because right-to-left horizontal is seldom used in present day?—Tokek 01:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
The usage section has a possibly misleading title, but if you read it, you'll see that it talks about where each type of writing is used. Maybe right-to-left does go in there to some extent, but I think it's an important enough topic to give it its own section. What do you think? --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  1. "Stroke order" refers to the order of writing kanji and kana, as the article originally said - I don't agree with deleting that. If the links are repeated, perhaps the links could be removed, but I don't see the rationale for removing the words "Chinese characters" and "Japanese characters".
    • I did not delete reference to stroke order. I did delete repeated links to kanji and kana, which were titled Chinese characters and Japanese characters using pipelinking. They were already linked (without the hiding caused by pipes) in the vicinity of that sentence. When I posted in your talk page, I've noticed that another user had something to say regarding your edits to the Stroke order article, right above my post. I did not follow the edit history of the stroke order article or any debates that might have sprung up in that article's talk page. My edit was made because I considered that clarifying that not just the order of the strokes but also the direction of each individual stroke matters. My wording tried to clarify this fact to a novice reader who might not know the technically exact definition of stroke order. I did not, nor did my edit, disagree with the factual accuracy of the previous edit. Maybe an initial misunderstanding of my edit caused you to think there was a reason for reverting my edits. —Tokek 01:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I've removed the duplicated link as you suggested. I'm not currently editing or watching the stroke order page as I find it difficult to deal with that user. --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  1. I was pretty unhappy that the sentence about right-to-left horizontal writing being a special case of vertical writing had been removed - that was more or less the motivation for writing the whole article for me. If it is wrong, please tell me so - but I have checked this very carefully. It is a frequent myth that Japanese has been written from right to left in succeeding horizontal rows. One of the big motivations for making this page was that I wanted to say this is wrong here and explain what right-to-left horizontal writing is.
    • My edit did not support the myth, as you say, that sequential right-to-left horizontal were written in succeeding rows in Japan. I said writing in successive horizontal rows did not exist until left-to-right horizontal writing came to Japan. I suppose I could have been extra clear on this point had I known this was a big concern for your page. —Tokek 01:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying. I have been through the article and tidied it and tried to make it basically fit with the new info which came from the Japanese version of the page and my own edits. I hope it says what you wanted to say now. I have also included some information about the first uses of yokogaki which I found in the reference mentioned on the page. --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

There are several other points I'd like to make about it. I have reverted out all of Tokek's edits for the time being except the addition of "stroke direction". If I removed anything which should be in the current version of the article, can we please discuss it on this talk page before restoring it? --DannyWilde 01:16, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

  • If you want to make more points, then please go ahead.—Tokek 01:10, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I think it is in quite good shape now. --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
  • The version previous to my edit said R-L horiz. is "a special form of tategaki, with columns of one character each going from right to left. " While I am not disagreeing with the notion that the practice of writing R-L horiz. rows sequentially did not exist (simply because I don't know of such practice in Japanese), I don't think this is a common interpretation (or an intuitive one) to say R-L horiz. is vertical writing with 1 character limit per column. That is my opinion without further reference. —Tokek 01:23, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
It is definitely the correct interpretation for anything much before the Meiji era. For example in a book I have some right-to-left calligraphy dating back to the thirteenth century. It is not possible to call it migi yokogaki -- there was no notion of yokogaki in Japanese then at all. The only explanation which makes sense is the one character limit vertical writing one. --DannyWilde 15:04, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Translated into Japanese[edit]

I translated this article into Japanese for Japanese Wikipedia. Please follow the 日本語 link if you're interested. Someone else has kindly fixed up the Japanese for me and added links already. --DannyWilde 07:33, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

There is a kind of debate going on about whether or not right-to-left writing exists on the Japanese page. I'm not sure it does, but anyone who's interested please take a look and contribute if you have anything to say. --DannyWilde 06:09, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Here's an interesting quote from the scanned image from 1933 linked at the ja: talk page:
I guess never say never. The "no R-to-L multiple horiz. lines" sounded a bit fishy from the beginning. For one, it comes stripped of any explanation. Wouldn't the logical next step after 1-line writing be multi-line writing? Then what is the unexplained reason for people to avoid this next step? Was there any probabilistic chance that this would never happen? By the version of the article prior to my edits, the multi-line horizontal as shown in the linked scan would have to be described as 1-letter-long colunns sequentially listed horizontally in groups which are then vertically listed. I think that's awkward. —Tokek 10:08, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I've seen bigger examples than that, and the book reference I gave on the Japanese page has a whole exam paper written like that. The book also mentions the name migiyokogaki. However, it is difficult to see why this is not regarded as being an extension of the right-to-left writing seen from ancient times. --DannyWilde 12:51, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Some sources[edit]

This article states that hidari yokogaki was officially adopted in 1952 with 公用文作成の要領 and that prior to then, hidari yokogaki usage was uncommon.This website has some photo samples of shita yokogaki and ue yokogaki. (Pics are mostly self explanatory.) A relatively recent law in Taiwan stipulates left to right horizontal writing for official documents (BBC News, 4 May, 2004). Tiananmen square has an old sign that reads right-to-left, while newer signs read left-to-right. —Tokek 17:18, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Chinese and Japanese[edit]

It's a little dangerous to mix (muddle)? Chinese and Japanese together. As languages they have very little in common. Particularly, things like discussing Chinese and Japanese punctuation in the same paragraph seems extremely misguided to me. At the time of writing this, the page needs much more work on clarifying punctuation differences, but jumbling them together is not a good idea. Also, since the history section specifically refers to Japanese, it's referenced from the book mentioned in the references, a section on the history in China should be added. Trying to recycle the Japanese history into Chinese is bound to lead to problems and confusion later on. --DannyWilde 05:27, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, the punctuation section can be reworked. However, Chinese and Japanese already have separate history sections. -- ran (talk) 06:09, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

Korean and Vietnamese[edit]

I understand this article was restructured from separate articles for Japanese and Chinese. Nevertheless since it's already restructured and title as such, it should cover other related east Asian scripts, for instance, Korean (hangul and hanja) and Vietnamese (chu nho and chu nom), and possibly, the Khitan script, etc. — Instantnood 14:38, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, but unfortunately I have no idea how things work in those languages, so I couldn't really say anything about them when I restructured the article. -- ran (talk) 17:40, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Unicode nonsense[edit]

Removed from the article:

In Unicode standard, the tradition of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean right-to-left direction is ignored and the writing direction is forced to be left-to-right and cannot be overrided.

This is utter nonsense. Unicode text has no inherent "direction" - it is rendered in whatever direction the program displaying it chooses to render it in. Furthermore, Unicode includes special characters that can be used to indicate whether a section should be rendered right-to-left or left-to-right.

Where writing direction is concerned, there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between Unicode and any other computer text encoding for East Asian scripts. — Haeleth Talk 12:14, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

No, it is not nonsense. If you have ever tried to use the Unicode control characters RLE, RLM, and RLO, you will know that only RLO ("right-to-left override") works. Even if Unicode really has no inherent writing direction (which is false, because it knows about RTL directionality of Hebrew and Arabic), all common existing Unicode-based programs assume a LTR direction for CJK.—Gniw (Wing) 21:50, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it is nonsense. If you have a program in which only RLO works, then it is that program that is broken. If you have a program which will not typeset CJK text right-to-left, then it is that program which is missing a feature. Unicode itself has nothing to do with it.
Look, Unicode is no more inherently LTR or restricted to LTR writing than GB2312, Shift_JIS, or Big5 is inherently LTR or restricted to LTR writing. Can you find a word-processing program which supported RTL typesetting for CJK languages before Unicode, but no longer supports it after switching to Unicode? I don't believe any such thing exists.
The one sliver of truth in the nonsense is that, for the purposes of the bi-di algorithm, Unicode classes CJK text as "strong left-to-right". But surely you don't believe that Unicode is stating that CJK text must always be laid out left-to-right, and that Unicode-compliant programs are forbidden to display it vertically! Of course you don't. Likewise, it doesn't mean that it's stating that it can't be laid out right-to-left. It's just saying that text in those languages, when written horizontally, is usually ordered left-to-right (which it is, as you well know), and that therefore a program should assume that the user wants it ordered left-to-right unless s/he says otherwise. — Haeleth Talk 12:24, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
No, it is not nonsense. If you can agree that "broken" programs may ignore RLE and RLM, then from a user's perspective it is not nonsense. If I remember correctly, some are so broken that even RLO does not work.
Also, lack of support for RLE and RLM does not necessarily mean the program is broken. It is possible that the program falls under the class of programs compliant with only "implicit bidirectionality" ([1] §4.2).
If you think it is the broken programs' fault and not Unicode's fault per se, the sentence is only "inaccurate" and need to be rephrased to make it accurate, not "nonsense" enough to be deleted.—Gniw (Wing) 16:59, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
I repeat: can you identify a single program which supported right-to-left text before Unicode was introduced, and no longer supports it now? If there are no such programs, then the lack of RTL support for CJK text has absolutely nothing to do with Unicode. If Unicode did not change the situation at all, then Unicode is irrelevant, and the statement I quoted above is nonsense. — Haeleth Talk 15:30, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Why would this have anything to do with whether that statement is nonsense or not? Before Unicode existed, CJK encodings did not even have the concept of "strong LTR". —Gniw (Wing) 15:39, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
A Unicode-compliant program is free to take CJK text in the Unicode encoding and lay it out in the RTL direction, just as it could for text using a legacy encoding: therefore, this has nothing to do with Unicode. The programs would not support RTL CJK text any better if Unicode had never existed than they do now: therefore, this has nothing to do with Unicode. It is the programs that "force" the text to be LTR, not Unicode, which does not specify a direction, but only suggests a sensible default; it is the programs that do not permit this to be overridden, not Unicode, which explicitly provides for overriding it. Therefore, the claim that Unicode has anything to do with the fact that programs do not support RTL layout of CJK text is nonsense.
I have conceded that the lack of support in programs is an issue, but I still see nothing that suggests that Unicode has anything to do with that lack of support. — Haeleth Talk 16:02, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Influence of word processing programs for directionality of CJK[edit]

The statement about the influence of word processing programs for CJK was removed as "nonsense". I don't know whether the person who did this actually uses a CJK language or not, but this statement is not nonsense. If he/she knows how, for example, the World Journal literally have to fight the system to typeset RTL headlines he/she certainly would not say this, and this yielding to "word processing programs" (and even professional typesetting programs) certainly caused the World Journal to give up and adopt LTR directionality in headlines earlier this year.—Gniw (Wing) 21:55, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

...actually, that wasn't part of what I described as nonsense: that was part of what I described as cutting down an unnecessarily verbose section. Apologies for the misunderstanding, my edit summary could have been clearer.
It is sufficient, in my opinion, to say that the change came about under the influence of English, since AFAIK the majority of horizontal text had switched to LTR already before word processing programs became common, and the only reason word processors made RTL text more difficult (insofar as they did; I've never had any problem typing backwards...) was because they were based on American-designed computer systems designed for working with English. So word processors were only one factor among many, and you haven't even provided any evidence that shows they were a particularly significant one.
Of course, if you can provide a verifiable citation that supports your claim that the World Journal made the change because of word-processing problems, then I wouldn't object at all to your putting that back in the article. I had a brief go at verifying it myself, but unfortunately I only read Japanese, not Chinese. And I note that nobody has considered this change significant enough to have mentioned it in the World Journal article. — Haeleth Talk 12:24, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
How am I supposed to provide such evidence? Many changes in typographical practice, including many which are typographical errors (some of which classifiable as punctuation or even grammatical mistakes), have crept in obviously because of the difficulty in typesetting them on computers. Horizontal RTL is one, other obvious ones are the use of hyphen or em-dash for the C/J dash (which should be two ems in length), the error of using a three-dot leader for the C/J ellipsis (which should be two ems in length and contains six dots), the disuse of wavy book title marks, the disuse of emphasis marks, the "semantic drift" of the underline (or, more bluntly, the misuse of it for emphasis), the mis-use of fake italics, etc. Chinese typography is under-discussed even in Chinese literature (even in printed works), and no one even talks about such common-sense things as the undesirability to word-wrap names in business letters.
(Note: by "common-sense", the last sentence refers to the fact that even a person completely untrained in typography prefers names to be no-break and never line-wrapped. This, of course, cannot be done in modern word processing programs. If we include modern typesetting programs, Adobe Illustrator would count as a notable exception, but not many business people use it to typeset letters.)
The prevalence of Western-centric computing has already heavily damaged many C (and I would say some J) typographic conventions, including the previously-correct-but-now-virtually-unknown convention of adding commas to numbers every 4 digits. Wikipedia in general seem to want to reinforce these damages; this is not NPOV at all.
Sorry, I do not subscribe to the World Journal. In fact I would have been the person who added it some weeks ago when I was editing that article, but I could not fix the date of the change. Perhaps I was mistaken when I did not add the reference when I edited it.—Gniw (Wing) 16:30, 26 December 2005 (UTC)
I assumed your claim that the World Journal had made the change recently because their typesetting system made RTL headlines unreasonably difficult to set was based on a documentary source you could cite. However, I will concede this point: I have never denied that word processors were a factor, and the strength of your reaction is sufficient evidence for me that there are people who believe they were a major factor. I've put a mention of the computer problem back into the article - I hope the wording is acceptable to you, and please edit it if it's not. — Haeleth Talk 15:54, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

Ran's removal[edit]

I wonder why User:Ran removes a sentence on bilingual dictionary with Chinese and Arabic (which is left to right) without any explanation. Indeed I have an image of it. (I can't upload it because there might be a copyright issues.) — HenryLi (Talk) 19:14, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Um, don't you mean that Arabic is right-to-left? But Arabic is always right-to-left. How is that relevant to this article?
Your original wording is also extremely vague:
Bilingual dictionaries like Arabic follows right-to-left horizontal writing.
Well, but Arabic is right-to-left. What's so special about that? -- ran (talk) 19:18, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
Yes, in such case, Chinese is written in right-to-left.
HenryLi (Talk) 19:25, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Doraemon-tate-yoko.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 07:12, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Visual Alignment[edit]

I have a theory that facial masking elements provide us with horizontal or vertical alignment/reference elements, creating a preference for reading directions. For an overview check these topics on my site:

1. Different alignment gives a different view more specific Test

2. Visual Grid and the Origin of Ocular Dominance Patterns in V1

best, Michel sharp (talk) 10:08, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

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19th century bilingual japanese english books in vertical script[edit]英文+の&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_JvPUIftMYW10QGM9YDYAw&ved=0CEoQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=英文%20の&f=false

Rajmaan (talk) 14:07, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

19th century bilingual japanese english magazine in horizontal script[edit]

Rajmaan (talk) 14:20, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

"migiyokogaki" in pre-WWII signs[edit]

The article says: At the beginning of the change to horizontal alignment in Meiji era Japan, there was a short-lived form called migi yokogaki ... This form was never widely used except for pre-WWII official documents (like banknotes)

However in photographs of pre-WWII Japan, you see huge numbers of signs written horizontally right-to-left; indeed, I've never seen a horizonal sign written left-to-right in a pre-WWII photo. So at least in commercial signs, etc., such usage was very common.

Does that usage fall outside what's described here, or ...?

--Snogglethorpe (talk) 15:14, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Vertical writing on the web[edit]

This section claims that vertical text "probably" only works in Internet Explorer. I can confirm that it works in Google Chrome: at least {{Phagspa}} produces vertical text. — Gwalla | Talk 21:34, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Therefore, before the end of World War II in Japan, those signs were read right to left.[edit]

This sentence makes no sense. You don't read a previously created sign differently just because another system was adopted later. The sign still only makes sense one way. -- (talk) 04:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)