RE: Term Asian is not used properly on Computers and NET

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Tue May 29 2001 - 15:37:55 EDT

On Tue, 29 May 2001, Marco Cimarosti wrote:

> Doug Ewell wrote:
> > Peter has an excellent solution -- much better than trying to
> > explain the
> > term "CJK" to ordinary people -- and I plan to use the term
> > "East Asian" in the future.
> But, if by "East Asian" you mean "languages written with Han ideographs",
> you fall in another pitfall, because Mongolian, Russian, Vietnamese and many
> other languages spoken in East Asia aren't accounted for.

There are many pitfalls. Does the definition exclude Korean when written
solely in Hangul? Is Vietnamese clearly "East Asian"? How about Yi
(TUS3.0 thinks so)? Does it include the Cyrillic-writing Dungan Chinese?
How about Zhuang written with Han characters? Min Chinese in Latin
script? Etc.

I think what one wants is something like "languages usually and currently
possibly including Han characters in their written form". That frees us
from worrying about historical or aberrant cases, I think.

Or how about just "languages written with a very large collection of
characters"? Then we can include the Tangut, et al too, without including
some of the medium-sized syllabaries. (This does require a distorted
analysis of hangul, though.)

> Personally, I got used to the acronym CJK and, so far, I haven't met many
> people who are so "ordinary" not to understand the explanation that "CJK"
> means "Chinese/Japanese/Korean".

One problem with that term is that its members are very transparent; some
people would like to add "V" to that to include historical Vietnamese
usage. Is one going to add Z for Zhuang and whatever other letters

> Rather, my problem with the acronym is that I don't know how to translate it
> in Italian: "CGC" (for "cinese/giapponese/coreano") is horrible, especially
> if you consider that it is pronounced chee-jee-chee.
> Moreover, unlike the English acronym, the three initials are not in
> alphabetical order, and this could be seen as politically incorrect. So we
> should have "chee-chee-jee", which is even worse, if possible.

Feel free to switch them around for local consumption--the Japanese term
nichi-chuu-kan arranges them Japanese-Chinese-Korean. I don't think you
can win if you try to be "politically correct" to everyone--e.g., there is
a faction that is unhappy with Korea spelled with "K" rather than "C", as
it alphabetizes after J.

Thomas Chan

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