Every which way

Here’s a photo (blurry, I know) of the side of a bus in Taipei. I took this because the bus has text in Chinese characters running in three different directions: top to bottom, right to left, and left to right.

Taiwanese wouldn’t find this particularly confusing, as this sort of thing is not entirely uncommon here, though right-to-left horizontal writing is seen less and less.

photo of the side of a bus in Taipei, Taiwan's Nangang district, showing text in Chinese characters running top to bottom, right to left, and left to right

same image as above, but with arrows superimposed to show the directions of the text

I’m posting this mainly so I can refer to this example later if need be.

5 thoughts on “Every which way

  1. And of course in this unusual case, the order in which the vertical text is to be read is moot: it depends on the direction of the bus.

  2. I’d argue that technically speaking (the best kind of speaking) that third one should be classed as “front to back” rather than “right to left” (the latter being an incidental consequence of the former).

  3. I once saw a store sign in Táiběi that read bottom to top. It didn’t seem especially marked, either. Wish I had been able to take a photo of it — would’ve completed the set.

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