I shouldn’t go too long without mentioning Google’s ambitious Noto project, which offers both serif and sans-serif versions: Noto Serif and Noto Sans.
When text is rendered by a computer, sometimes there will be characters in the text that can not be displayed, because no font that supports them is available to the computer. When this occurs, small boxes are shown to represent the characters. We call those small boxes “tofu,” and we want to remove tofu from the Web. This is how the Noto font families got their name.
Noto helps to make the web more beautiful across platforms for all languages. Currently, Noto covers over 30 scripts, and will cover all of Unicode in the future. This is the Sans Latin, Greek and Cyrillic family. It has Regular, Bold, Italic and Bold Italic styles and is hinted. It is derived from Droid, and like Droid it has a serif sister family, Noto Serif.
Noto fonts for many other languages are available as web fonts from the Google Web Fonts Early Access page.
Noto fonts are intended to be visually harmonious across multiple languages, with compatible heights and stroke thicknesses.
And it’s free, of course.
A doubled vowel is a sure sign of the Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization system — except when it’s a sign of someone wrongly omitting an apostrophe in Hanyu Pinyin or simply making a typo. But today’s example is certainly Gwoyeu Romatzyh, as, oddly enough, the side of a coach bus is one of the most likely places in Taiwan to spot an example of that romanization system. I’m seeing it less and less as the years go by, though, which saddens me.
Here, however, is a nice example that looks fairly new. I took the photo along Taidong’s lovely coastline a couple of weeks ago.
Diing Dong Bus (Pinyin: Ding3 Dong1; lit. ancient three-legged round cauldron, east)
Note, too, the mixing of Mandarin and English (rather than the loanword form of bashi), and those hideously misplaced g’s.
Back in 2008 I took a close look at U.S. post-secondary enrollments in foreign languages and the position of Mandarin. I’ve recently been examining the latest figures (for which there is still a lag of a couple years).
I’ve included data for all available years, other than 1969 and a couple years in the early 1970s because the numbers were calculated differently then.
These represent the total enrollments for courses labeled “Mandarin” or some form of “Chinese” (including “classical” but excluding modern languages such as Cantonese, Taiwanese, etc.). Failure to add the sometimes separately categorized “Mandarin” to the figures for “Chinese” would produce the wrong results.
As can be seen in the graph below, over the most recent period (2009–2013) growth in enrollments in Mandarin in U.S. universities basically came to a halt, increasing just 0.6 percent. I do not expect a return to the dramatic increases common before 2009.
Click to enlarge.
Here’s another in my series of photos of English with Chinese character(istic)s, that is Chinese characters being used to write English (sort of). I want to stress that these aren’t loan words, just an approximate phonetic rendering of the English.
Today’s entry — which was taken a few weeks ago in Xinzhu (usually spelled “Hsinchu”), Taiwan — is Mi2ke4 Xia4 (lit. “lost guest summer”).
Here’s a public-domain script font: Promocyja.
Last week I put online China’s official rules for Hanyu Pinyin, the 2012 revision (GB/T 16159-2012). I’ve now made a traditional-Chinese-character version of those rules for Pinyin.
Eventually I’ll also issue versions in Pinyin and English.
(Note: The image above is of course Photoshopped. I altered the cover of the PRC standard simply to provide an illustration in traditional Chinese characters for this post.)
I tend to think of Hanzi being used to write English words as “Singlish,” after John DeFrancis’s classic spoof, “The Singlish Affair,” which is the opening chapter of his essential book The Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy. But these days the word is mainly used for Singaporean English. So now I usually go with something like “English with Chinese character(istic)s.”
For a few earlier examples, see the my photos of the dog and the butterfly businesses.
Today’s example is “Crunchy,” written as ke3 lang3 qi2 (can bright strange). Kelangqi, however, isn’t how to say “crunchy” in Mandarin (cui4 de is); it’s just an attempt to render the English word using Chinese characters, probably in an attempt to look different and cool.
Crunchy, which is now out of business, was just a block away from the Dog (dou4 ge2) store, which is still around.
I’ve just added to Pinyin.info the tenth and final issue (December 1989) of the seminal journal Xin Tang. I strongly encourage everyone to take a look at it and some of the other issues. Copies of this journal are extremely rare; but their importance is such that I’ll be putting all of them online here over the years.
Xin Tang 10
Although I’m giving the table of contents in English, the articles themselves are in Mandarin and written in Pinyin.
- FEATURE ARTICLES
- ZHOU YOUGUANG: The Next Step of Language Modernization
- CHEN ENQUAN: Experiments Should Be Carried Out on the Phoneticization of Chinese Characters
- LI YUAN: Romanized Chinese Must Be Finalized
- LI PING: To Be a Promoter of Script Reform
- ZHENG LINXI: Wu Yuzhang and Chinese Phonetic Spelling
- ZHANG LIQING: How Should the Tones of Chinese Spelling Be Indicated?
- LIQING: Elephants
- CHEN XUANYOU (Tang Period): The Wandering Soul
- WU JINGZI (Qing Period): Third Daughter Wang
- LU XUN: On the Collapse of Thunder Peak Pagoda
- RUI LUOBIN: The Adventures of Chunmei and Mimi
- COMIC DIALOGUES: Toad Drums
- WEI YIJIN: Dreams at Twenty
- DIAO KE: In Praise o f the Spirit of Bees
- GE XIAOLING: A Song to the Disabled Children
- YBY: The Story of the Magic Square
- SHORT SKETCHES
- DIAN EWEN: Interesting Tidbits about Script Reform Abroad
- LI YUAN: A Few Statistics on Tones Notations in Romanized Chinese
- LEARNING MANDARIN
- FROM THE EDITORS