Saturday, 21 November 2009

Chinese Italic

**GASP** A sighting on Chinese Italic. Rare find I supposed though I am not sure if I would like to see more of it. It's not something I ever thought about until now... then I start wondering does it make sense to have a chinese italic?!?! does it?! or even an arabic italic?

CY: seems like most non-latin scripts don't look good italicised?

HHM: my friend terence yeung said he's going to name his first son Italicised.

WT: (@CY) i never really thought about it until i actually saw it on 早安您好 (or 早安您好), it was most peculiar in the most unflattering way. (@HHM): i guess terence yeung is just plain weird lor, an 'italicised' baby does not come across as a pretty sight.... asymmetrical, lope-sided, stressed... :S

HHM: lol! i've never thot of it that way! imo an italicised child would prob be a very picky eater and socially awkward.. btw, i don't think chinese italic makes sense!

FH: if you think about it, the use of italics is to alter the tone of a statement & alter the syntax by creating emphasis on the italicised word when reading... so in mandarin if you alter the tone using italics, would it not become a different hanyu pinyin accent? therefore you might even inadvertently change the meaning of the italicised word? (actually that could be quite interesting!)

WT: ya fab, i realised that chinese language do not offer a formal treatment for an italic-equivalent emphasis... or am i ignorant of it? :s
in chinese, each character is a sound. If the sound is altered, it just ain't that character anymore.
whereas in the case of an english word, it's a composition of sounds. so a slightly altered tone of a word is still recognisable... since it's that identifiable composition of sounds.
with this, whether in syntax or in form, maybe italic is just not an option for chinese at all?

FB: Slanted Arabic could work for certain styles, if used properly and if it is slanted to the left, it doesn't look bad. I saw many samples in logotypes or product brands but usually based on very geometric fonts. Slanted calligraphic fonts look baaaaad. Chinese and Japanese glyphs looks ugly when slanted but as I cannot read them, it is just an opinion of a designer. There is an long ongoing discussion about emphasising in Arabic text among experts and most of them recommends style mixing.

WT: Thx filip for the insight on Arabic :) As it is for both readers and non-readers of chinese, thumbs down to the italic equivalent! :)

On hindsight, this is really more an oblique than an italic anyway.