vertical writing mode of modern Yi?

From: suzuki toshiya <>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 14:18:17 +0900

Dear experts,

Is there any typesetted material of modern Yi syllabic script in vertical
writing mode?

I heard that the glyph shapes of modern Yi syllabics (U+A000 - U+A48F,
U+A490 - U+A4CF) were produced by 90-degree rotation of old Yi glyphs,
because the syllabicalized/modernized result was expected to be
matched with horizontal writing mode although original Yi was mainly
written vertically. I'm not sure whether 90-degree rotation of Yi glyph
has remarkable advantage for the eyes of the vertical writing mode people
to work with horizontal writing mode, but anyway, the rotation of
the existing glyph during the syllabicalization/modernization is true.

Now, the most part of typesetted Yi books from China seem to be
in horizontal writing mode. On the spine of these book, sometimes
the vertical Yi texts are found, but their glyphs are same with those
in horizontal writing mode. In other words, the glyphs are same but
writing direction is changed, aslike CJK Unified Ideographs.

On the spines of the manually written books for old Yi, the situation
is same; non-rotated glyphs are laid out vertically. Ah, vertical is
the native writing mode, so I should say as "on the front cover, non-
rotated glyphs are laid out horizontally".

Please find attached photo. On the spine of the black book
(modern Yi), you can find modern (prerotated) Yi glyph are laid out
vertically. On the spine of the green book (old Yi), you can find
old (non-rotated) Yi glyph are laid out vertically, and they are
laid out horizontally on the front cover of the book, without

# black book: ISBN 7-5409-1851-9
# green book: ISBN 7-5367-2637-6

Anyway, the spines and the covers of the books are insufficient to discuss
about the appropriate text layout for vertical writing mode. If anybody
have ever seen the typesetted book of modern Yi syllabics in vertical
writing mode, please let me know whether its glyphs are rotated /or not.

BTW, the assumption of "old Yi glyphs are not rotated" might be unsafe.
Checking a dictionary of old Yi (old Yi glyphs are manually written,
but Chinese and Latin texts are typesetted), I could find some glyphs
looking like as if it is rotated as modern Yi.

Please find a few scanned images taken from old Yi dictionary's index
(green book in the photo).

This dictionary consists of the volumes for each dialect. In the volume
for Yunnan Luquan and Wudin dialect (p.44-45), you can find some glyphs
looking like modern-Yi-before-rotation.
In the volume for Sichuan dialect (p.751), you can find the glyphs
looking like modern-Yi-after-rotation. You may wonder if "the volume
for Sichuan dialect includes only modern Yi, and it should not be
recognized as Old Yi?". In the last page for Sichuan volume (p.889),
you can find some glyphs that are not included in modern Yi.


Received on Tue Mar 27 2012 - 00:24:51 CDT

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