Re: vertical writing mode of modern Yi?

From: Andrew West <>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:17:14 +0100

On 27 March 2012 06:18, suzuki toshiya <> wrote:
> Is there any typesetted material of modern Yi syllabic script in vertical
> writing mode?

Probably nothing more than titles on book spines and names of
government offices written on gate pillars. However, I believe that
these examples are sufficient to establish the vertical writing mode
of the modern Yi script. My observation is that the standardized
Liangshan Yi script that is encoded in Unicode is written vertically
with no rotation of glyphs, in the same way that Chinese characters
are written vertically.

> 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".

That seems reasonable, but as Old Yi was written in a variety of
orientations in different times and different places it is hard to
agree on what the "correct" vertical and horizontal layout of Old Yi
(or perhaps more correctly, the various Old Yi scripts) should be.
Moreover, as Old Yi has not been encoded, and therefore cannot be
represented in Unicode (other than using the PUA), the orientation
behaviour of Old Yi does not seem particularly relevant to Unicode in
general or to UTR#50 (
in particular.

> 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.

Even if it shares many of the same glyphs, the standardized Liangshan
Yi syllabary encoded in Unicode is not the same script as the Old Yi
script used to represent the same language (Liangshan Yi) prior to
standardization of the script, and you cannot really represent any Old
Yi texts using Unicode Yi without "normalizing" the text in a way that
would be unacceptable for scholarly purposes. Really, anything
written in an "Old Yi" script is irrelevant to discussions of the
behaviour of the standardized Liangshan Yi script, and just causes
unnecessary confusion and eventually leads to the definition of
incorrect vertical text layout properties for Unicode Yi.

Received on Tue Mar 27 2012 - 07:21:18 CDT

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