bidi in Taiwanese Mandarin (was: bidi support)

From: Kai-hsu Tai / Te Khaisu (
Date: Fri Jul 11 1997 - 22:30:00 EDT

Unicode Discussion wrote:
> Werner Lemberg <> wrote on 1997-07-11 23:04 UTC:
> > To a certain extent, Chinese (as used in Taiwan) needs this. There are
> > newspapers which have headers written from left to right and right to left
> > on the same page; the main text is nevertheless written vertically.
> But isn't left-to-right and right-to-left writing in *this* context just
> a typographical formatting feature (like left and right justification
> and centering of lines in European languages), and not a property of the
> script and its characters?

Well, I think this is strict bidi like Arabic.

Say there is a Mandarin header, "Jinnian Taiwan GNP dadao 1.2 wan
Meiyuan" (Taiwan's GNP reached USD 12 000 this year) [amount
hypothetical], and it is typesetted from right to left. It would appear

[yuan][mei][wan] 1.2 [dao][da] GNP [wan][tai][nian][jin]

I am sure that two of the three biggest selling Mandarin newspapers here
(China Times, United Daily News) still typeset their headers like this
(even after the typesetting went computerized). I am not sure if
Liberty Times, the other biggest selling Mandarin paper, does this or it
has gone the way of total left-to-right, horizontal typesetting.

One thing we can be sure of is that no one actually picks up a pen and
writes in this bidi way.

Many Mandarin papers here, even including some owned by the China Times
Group and the United Daily News Group, have gone the way of total
left-to-right, horizontal typesetting.

Te Khaisu
back in Taipei, Taiwan

(Hi, Werner, we're on the same island.)

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