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

Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 12:14:10 EDT

In a message dated 2001-05-31 6:55:16 Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

>> 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.

For heaven's sake, we've been through this already. We all know that certain
languages used in eastern Asia require more than one script. Nobody is
trying to simplify or belittle anyone else's language.

We're just trying, for whatever reason, to come up with terms to refer to
scripts that are:

* reasonably accurate
* short enough to serve as dialog box labels
* not too arcane for the intended audience

For the Han characters, I have found in the past that people whose native
language does not use these characters usually refer to them as "Chinese."
Obviously (to us anyway), calling them "Chinese characters" is not adequate,
so we search for alternatives.

The term "Han" may be considered biased toward the Chinese usage, and is
generally unknown to non-expert Occidentals.

Calling them "CJK" is more accurate, but does have some drawbacks:

(1) For non-experts -- and one of the successes of Unicode is that
non-experts now have access to a wide variety of scripts -- you have to
explain the term, and it comes across as just another TLA.

(2) As has been stated many times, "CJK" for Han characters can be
misleading because they are not sufficient to write Japanese and Korean.
(For that matter, I *never* see Korean written with hanja, but let's not go
there, please.)

(3) Inevitably someone will suggest "CJKV" because they were *formerly* used
to write Vietnamese, but to me this is massively confusing since they are not
used at all in *modern* Vietnamese and the historical aspect is quite
irrelevant to the present discussion.

Liwal's original complaint was that "Asian" was inadequate, which I certainly
can't argue with.

I liked Peter Constable's term "East Asian," but as many have pointed out, it
all depends on where your "east" and "west" are situated; and even if we can
agree what "East Asia" means, not all languages in that area use Han

Perhaps Jungshik's breakdown of Asia into regions is a good starting point,
and his suggestion of "East Asian fonts" or "East Asian scripts" (note the
plural) may be among the best for meeting our stated goals. But Edward
Cherlin is right, there is no such thing as "the correct names" for anything,
and in this case even more than usual, if we expect a perfect solution we
will never be satisfied with an excellent one.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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