Re: RECOMMENDATIONs( Term Asian is not used properly on Computers and NET)

From: Jungshik Shin (
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 09:37:30 EDT

On Wed, 30 May 2001, N.R.Liwal wrote:

> So far the recomendations are, that "Asian Text Fonts" can be called:
> -Han Fonts or Hanzi Fonts

  As already pointed out, this is not adqueate to cover Korean
and Japanese because other scripts are also used for them. Moreover,
Japanese may not like 'Hanzi' even if you're talking about
Hanzi/Kanji/Hanja alone. Even 'Han' (which is more neutral) could be
balked at by some.

> -"East Asian Unified" Fonts
> -"East Asian" Fonts

  If they mean fonts for Chinese, Japanese and Korean writing
systems, I would pick 'East Asian fonts'.

> Script Can be classified as:
> -languages which Han ideographs

    you're talking not about language(s) but about script(s) , right?

> -'ideographic languages' SCRIPT

   A language cannot be ideographic as I wrote before. Has anybody else
mentioned this term other than me? I mentioned it not because I think it's
appropriate BUT because I think that the term ("ideographic language")
MUST NOT be used.

> -"East Asian Unified" SCRIPT

  What's been 'unified' is Han 'ideographs' while there ARE other
scripts in (more predominant) use in the region (even if you only mean
Chinese,Japanese and Korean by 'East Asian').

> - "East Asian" SCRIPT

  What 'script' (not 'scripts') are you talking about here?
If you just mean 'Han ideographs', I don't think you need to come up with
new term(s). I think 'Han ideograph' (or CJK ideographs if it ONLY means
Hanzi/Kanji/Hanja and nothing else) is good enough (although certainly
not perfect.) On the other hand, if you're talking about all the scripts
used in Northeast/East Asian countries (or China, Japan and Korea),
you CANNOT use any of the above with the possible exception of the last
(which can be used provided that they're made plural 'East Asian Scripts'
to reflect that there are *multiple* scripts in use.)

> Asian geographic expressions are better:
> -"Southeast Asia", "East Asia" "CENRAL ASIA"
> "WEST ASIA = Arabic Countries and Neighborhood"

  I believe the following are widely used at least in 'geography
text books' and 'encyclopedia'. Also, many US schools with regional
studies programs use similar divisions (except for Southwest Asian which
appears to be refered to as 'Middle East' most of time). This division
is bound to be aribtrary to some degree (Asian continent is not a circle
or any definitive geometric shape which can be divided in an unambiguous
way ;-) )

  East Asia/Northeast Asia : Japan, Korea, China (it's a huge country,
                              'Far East' (in Western media and
                                          at least in some East Asian media :-) )
  Southeast Asia : Indochina, Malaysia,Singapor,Indonesia,Thai,Burma,
  South Asia : India,Pakistan,Sri Lanka,Bangladesh,Nepal,....
  Soutwest Asia : The part of Asia usually called 'Middle East'
                             (in Western media and at least in some
                              East Asian media :-) )
                             Arabian peninsular, Iran, Iraq,
                             Turkey(Near East?),
                             Afganistan(it could be put in South Asia...)
  Central Asia : Mongol and some former republics of USSR (now
                             independent. e.g Kazahstan)
  North Asia (??) : Siberia?

  FYI, Mozilla uses the following:

   East Asian : Chinese, Japanese, Korean
   SE & SW Asian : Thai, Armenian*, Turkish*
   Middle Eastern : Hebrew, Arabic
   Western European: ..., Greek*(why?),.....
   Eastern European:

   I guess it's better than Office XP which calls Chinese,Japanese, Korean
'Asian', but it could still have done better. (Middle East and SW Asia
overlap each other so that they had better split up SE&SW Asia, remove
Middle East'ern', put Armenian, Turkish, Hebrew and Arabic into 'SW
Asian' and fill up 'SE Asian' with Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian and so
forth when they get supported). That is, I would use the following
for programs like web browser and word processor.

   East Asian : Chinese, Japanese, Korean + some more
   (or NE Asian) if necessary and supported (e.g Yi)
   SE Asian : Thai,Vietnamese,Lao, Khmer, etc
   South Asian : various Indic scripts (other than those included in
                  SE Asian), Tibet*
   SW Asian : Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac, Armenian*, Turkish*, etc
   (Middle Eastern)
   Central Asian: Mongolian, Khazahstan(?), .... when supported

  Of course, geographic break-up has its pitfalls and some people
for sure wouldn't like it for various reasons. For instance, Turkish
and Vietnamese writing systems are Latin-alphabet-based, which others
in the group they're in don't share. Also Indic/Indic-like scripts are
used both in South Asian and SE Asian countries(of course NOT in all
countries there). However, geographic brake-up(with some scripts put in
more than one groups) may be the best unless end-users are expected to be
'writing-system experts'. (I mean 'geography experts(?)' are easier to
find among end-users than 'writing system experts'. )

   Jungshik Shin

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