Some questions about CJK fonts

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Some questions about CJK fonts

Stefan Knorr
Hi all, Zao,

As an introduction: I am part of the documentation team & working on the
(hopefully future) design of SUSE's manuals.

I researched CJK fonts a bit and how to best deal with them, but a few
questions remained.

#1  I saw that e.g. Microsoft uses different default fonts for
    Chinese/simplified, Chinese/traditional, Japanese & Korean text.
    I don't quite understand this, as there are many fonts which seem to
    cover  the whole spectrum of CJK characters (like WenQuanYi Micro
    Hei [1], which I am currently using). Why? Are there common
    characters (i.e. Chinese traditonal characters) that are written
    differently between countries?
    (Or, in other words, is it appropriate to confront Japanese, Korean
    or RoC users with fonts designed for mainland China?)

#2  I learned that I should use a Hei Ti/Kei Ti font instead of making
    text bold/italic [2].
    * How do Hei Ti and Kei Ti styles relate to Ming fonts? What are the
      differences?
    * Since my chosen font, WQY Micro Hei is already a Hei font (I would
      assume), what script types would I need to use instead for
      bold/italic?
    * What kind of font is considered most readable? (I learned e.g.
      that in Arabic countries the more geometric Kufic script is often
      considered to be badly readable.)
    * I learned that Japanese supports "emphasis lines" and "emphasis
      dots". Do these work in left-to-right text, too (I have only seen
      an example in top-to-bottom style)? Do these features exist for
      Chinese, too?


Thanks in advance,
Stefan.


[1] http://wenq.org/wqy2/index.cgi
[2] http://www.njstar.com/cms/support/njstar-chinese-wp/how-come-i-can-not-use-bold-and-italics-chinese-and-japanese-text

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Re: Some questions about CJK fonts

Zaoliang Luo
Hi Stefan,

nice to meet you. I don't know much about CJK fonts. I'll try to give
you some answer.

Regards,



On 06/14/2013 03:07 PM, Stefan Knorr wrote:

> Hi all, Zao,
>
> As an introduction: I am part of the documentation team & working on the
> (hopefully future) design of SUSE's manuals.
>
> I researched CJK fonts a bit and how to best deal with them, but a few
> questions remained.
>
> #1  I saw that e.g. Microsoft uses different default fonts for
>      Chinese/simplified, Chinese/traditional, Japanese & Korean text.
>      I don't quite understand this, as there are many fonts which seem to
>      cover  the whole spectrum of CJK characters (like WenQuanYi Micro
>      Hei [1], which I am currently using). Why? Are there common
>      characters (i.e. Chinese traditonal characters) that are written
>      differently between countries?
>      (Or, in other words, is it appropriate to confront Japanese, Korean
>      or RoC users with fonts designed for mainland China?)

CJK are 4 different languages, so it is true that different fonts are
selected as default fonts. Yes, UFT-8 covers also more languages, so for
example chinese font (encoding UTF-8) could contains Japanese and Korean
character.

traditional chinese has own fonts because it uses different characters
than simplified chinese.


>
> #2  I learned that I should use a Hei Ti/Kei Ti font instead of making
>      text bold/italic [2].
>      * How do Hei Ti and Kei Ti styles relate to Ming fonts? What are the
>        differences?

HeiTi(黑体) is some how like bold fonts, but I would say it is more a
style, it is not related to font properties. KaiTi (楷体) is just
another fonts. So for both Chinese we can use same style (fonts) like
HeiTi and KaiTi, but they are still different characters.

Ming is a beautifl font, it has own style.


>      * Since my chosen font, WQY Micro Hei is already a Hei font (I would
>        assume), what script types would I need to use instead for
>        bold/italic?

 Actually HeiTi looks already bold, so we think that is a property of
Heiti which is not correct, you can even format the HeiTi to italic bold
:) but normally you can use HeiTi for simplified Chinese as default,
MingTi as default for traditional Chinese.

>      * What kind of font is considered most readable? (I learned e.g.
>        that in Arabic countries the more geometric Kufic script is often
>        considered to be badly readable.)

heiti or mingti.

>      * I learned that Japanese supports "emphasis lines" and "emphasis
>        dots". Do these work in left-to-right text, too (I have only seen
>        an example in top-to-bottom style)? Do these features exist for
>        Chinese, too?

Yes, this is special CJK-feature, the characters can be turned for 90°,
so do dot lines.

Normally we don't use them for documentation in software. Mostly they
are used in Newspapers (in Japan) and some old style books like poem or
novel.

>
>
> Thanks in advance,
> Stefan.
>
>
> [1] http://wenq.org/wqy2/index.cgi
> [2] http://www.njstar.com/cms/support/njstar-chinese-wp/how-come-i-can-not-use-bold-and-italics-chinese-and-japanese-text
>


--
Zaoliang Luo
Quality Assurance Department
Phone +49 91174053-363
SUSE LINUX GmbH
GF: Jeff Hawn, Jennifer Guild, Felix Imendörffer, HRB 21284 (AG Nürnberg)
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Re: Some questions about CJK fonts

Yasuhiko Kamata
In reply to this post by Stefan Knorr
Hello, Stefan,

I'll try to answer from a Japanese viewpoint.

On Fri, 14 Jun 2013 15:07:18 +0200
Stefan Knorr <[hidden email]> wrote:

> #1  I saw that e.g. Microsoft uses different default fonts for
>     Chinese/simplified, Chinese/traditional, Japanese & Korean text.
>     I don't quite understand this, as there are many fonts which seem
> to cover  the whole spectrum of CJK characters (like WenQuanYi Micro
>     Hei [1], which I am currently using). Why? Are there common
>     characters (i.e. Chinese traditonal characters) that are written
>     differently between countries?
>     (Or, in other words, is it appropriate to confront Japanese,
>      Korean or RoC users with fonts designed for mainland China?)

These are two common considerations.

One, is a problem of a culture and history.

Chinese and Japanese uses many Kanji characters for expressing
sentences, but the meaning of each characters are sometimes different.
Unicode defines these some characters as the same codepoint (although
these characters should be dealed as the different).

In addition to that, Simplified Chinese (commonly used in mainland
China) uses simplified style of Kanji characters; Japanese and
Traditional Chinese (commonly used in Taiwan) does not use (and often
cannot be read). But these have the same codepoint (for the same
meanings).

Another one is a problem is a appearance.

Chinese and Japanese prefer different gryphs. When Chinese (Japanese)
fonts are used in Japanese (Chinese) text, its texts are hard to read in
Japanese (Chinese) users.

So that, the different fonts should be used in Chinese and Japanese.
(Korean uses Hangul characters (not Kanji) mostly, this problem will not
 be occur.)

Thanks,

--
Yasuhiko Kamata
E-mail: [hidden email]
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Re: Some questions about CJK fonts

Marguerite Su
In reply to this post by Zaoliang Luo
Hi, Stefan,

On 06/14/2013 03:07 PM, Stefan Knorr wrote:
> #1  I saw that e.g. Microsoft uses different default fonts for
>      Chinese/simplified, Chinese/traditional, Japanese & Korean text.
>      I don't quite understand this, as there are many fonts which seem to
>      cover  the whole spectrum of CJK characters (like WenQuanYi Micro
>      Hei [1], which I am currently using). Why? Are there common
>      characters (i.e. Chinese traditonal characters) that are written
>      differently between countries?
>      (Or, in other words, is it appropriate to confront Japanese, Korean
>      or RoC users with fonts designed for mainland China?)

1. Most of Japanese/Korean chars are evolved from Traditional
Chinese(and there're still some left unchanged nowadays). eg: あ in
Japanese was 安 in Chinese. They looks quite different now, but あ was a
TC handwritten font a thousand year ago(They even had similar
pronounciations).

2. In 1950s, PRC released a national standard to simplify Traditional
Chinese in Mainland China. But RoC/HongKong/Macau didn't. After so
many years, Mainland Chinese can still read Traditional Chinese
(although they look weird to them), but Simplified Chinese are totally
new to those people who never received SC education.

So yes, they're from the same origin, but common characters are
written differently now.

UTF-8 do cover them all, but commerical OS didn't produce fonts
itself. Microsoft just buy fonts from different font companies.

Font companies located in different countries have no motivation to
cover UTF-8. eg: if you want to sell a font in Mainland China, you
just need to cover about 20000 chars, but a UTF-8 font needs 1500000+
fonts. Chinese is a script language, if you want to make a char, you
have to design it(costs money). There're common strokes, but simple
combination looks ugly.

And there's still no open source project that have so much resources
to cover CJK. WQY solves the problem to some extent, but it just
combines strokes which may look ugly to non-SC users. As I know,
there's no Japanese contributors for that project. So it's making
Japanese/Korean font in a Chinese-oriented view.

> #2  I learned that I should use a Hei Ti/Kei Ti font instead of making
>      text bold/italic [2].
>      * How do Hei Ti and Kei Ti styles relate to Ming fonts? What are the
>        differences?

Let me unify them for you.

HeiTi is sans-serif, KeiTi is serif.

Ming fonts are originated from Japanese Mincho font, a serif font.

Actually, they're just different sayings:

In RoC, they call sans-serif fonts "Zen Hei", serif fonts "Ming".

In PRC, we call sans-serif fonts "Hei Ti", serif fonts "Kai Ti(Kei
Ti)" or "Song Ti".

So the only difference between those sayings may be:

Ming usually covers Traditional Chinese chars in a serif style.

Zen Hei usually covers Traditional Chinese in a sans-serif style.

Kei Ti/Song Ti usually covers Simplified Chinese in a serif style.

Hei Ti usually covers Simplified Chinese in a sans-serif style.

It depends on which company designed the font. eg: a Mainland Chinese
company may design a "Hei Ti (TC)" font which can also be called "Zen
Hei" and actually is sans-serif.

Chinese (Maybe CJK) had no sans-serif fonts, companies produce such
fonts just for better screen display. In print material, we use serif
fonts(Song Ti).

Chinese (Maybe CJK) had no bold style, eg: 齷, if you make this char
bold, it's just a mess.

Chinese is a square-style font, you can write some strokes italic, but
if you write the whole char italic, we just call it "ugly". In
history, such writing style indicates "no integrity".

>      * Since my chosen font, WQY Micro Hei is already a Hei font (I would
>        assume), what script types would I need to use instead for
>        bold/italic?

Yes, WQY is a sans-serif font. there's no serif in it.

For screen display, you can mix sans-serif (WQY) and serif Chinese(eg:
WQY Bitmap Song) to make them look different.

For printing, such mix may look ugly.

So I suggest we just use different size of the same font to make
titles/sections, and different fonts for screen display/printing.

>      * What kind of font is considered most readable? (I learned e.g.
>        that in Arabic countries the more geometric Kufic script is often
>        considered to be badly readable.)

It depends. For screen display, sans-seirf Chinese; for printing, serif Chinese.

>      * I learned that Japanese supports "emphasis lines" and "emphasis
>        dots". Do these work in left-to-right text, too (I have only seen
>        an example in top-to-bottom style)? Do these features exist for
>        Chinese, too?

In history, Chinese writes from top right to bottom right (a line),
then beside that line...until top left to bottom left.

But now (especially on computer), we just write from left to right and
top to bottom.

These features exist for Chinese, no matter how you write.


Greetings

Marguerite
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Re: Some questions about CJK fonts

Stefan Knorr
Hi Marguerite,

thank you a lot for your effort!

On Sa, 2013-06-15 at 15:04 +0800, Marguerite Su wrote:

> Hi, Stefan,
>
> On 06/14/2013 03:07 PM, Stefan Knorr wrote:
> > #1  I saw that e.g. Microsoft uses different default fonts for
> >      Chinese/simplified, Chinese/traditional, Japanese & Korean text.
> >      I don't quite understand this, as there are many fonts which seem to
> >      cover  the whole spectrum of CJK characters (like WenQuanYi Micro
> >      Hei [1], which I am currently using). Why? Are there common
> >      characters (i.e. Chinese traditonal characters) that are written
> >      differently between countries?
> >      (Or, in other words, is it appropriate to confront Japanese, Korean
> >      or RoC users with fonts designed for mainland China?)
>
> 1. Most of Japanese/Korean chars are evolved from Traditional
> Chinese(and there're still some left unchanged nowadays). eg: あ in
> Japanese was 安 in Chinese. They looks quite different now, but あ was a
> TC handwritten font a thousand year ago(They even had similar
> pronounciations).
>
> 2. In 1950s, PRC released a national standard to simplify Traditional
> Chinese in Mainland China. But RoC/HongKong/Macau didn't. After so
> many years, Mainland Chinese can still read Traditional Chinese
> (although they look weird to them), but Simplified Chinese are totally
> new to those people who never received SC education.
>
> So yes, they're from the same origin, but common characters are
> written differently now.
>
> UTF-8 do cover them all, but commerical OS didn't produce fonts
> itself. Microsoft just buy fonts from different font companies.

Ah.

>
> Font companies located in different countries have no motivation to
> cover UTF-8. eg: if you want to sell a font in Mainland China, you
> just need to cover about 20000 chars, but a UTF-8 font needs 1500000+
> fonts. Chinese is a script language, if you want to make a char, you
> have to design it(costs money).

Oh. I did not think about the economic reasons for this.


> And there's still no open source project that have so much resources
> to cover CJK. WQY solves the problem to some extent, but it just
> combines strokes which may look ugly to non-SC users. As I know,
> there's no Japanese contributors for that project. So it's making
> Japanese/Korean font in a Chinese-oriented view.

Hm, I thought, they imported their Japanese & Korean character sets from
Droid Sans, too.
Neither Hangeul, nor Hiragana/Katakana sets seem that large, in other
words, the amount of characters of both is about on par with Latin – so
it would be plausible to me that Google already prepared _complete_
fonts for them.
At the same time, since you explain below that I should use a serif font
for printing in everything but simplified Chinese, I will probably use a
serif font for Japanese & Korean too.


> Let me unify them for you.
>
> HeiTi is sans-serif, KeiTi is serif.
>
> Ming fonts are originated from Japanese Mincho font, a serif font.
>
> Actually, they're just different sayings:
>
> In RoC, they call sans-serif fonts "Zen Hei", serif fonts "Ming".
>
> In PRC, we call sans-serif fonts "Hei Ti", serif fonts "Kai Ti(Kei
> Ti)" or "Song Ti".

Awesome! That & the below clears things up /considerably/.


> Chinese is a square-style font, you can write some strokes italic, but
> if you write the whole char italic, we just call it "ugly". In
> history, such writing style indicates "no integrity".

I'll avoid faux-italics, then.


> Yes, WQY is a sans-serif font. there's no serif in it.
>
> For screen display, you can mix sans-serif (WQY) and serif Chinese(eg:
> WQY Bitmap Song) to make them look different.
>
> For printing, such mix may look ugly.
>
> So I suggest we just use different size of the same font to make
> titles/sections, and different fonts for screen display/printing.

Hm, the problem I have is: what about e.g. menu items or product names,
etc.? Should I just use the normal font there and hope that people "get
it"?


> In history, Chinese writes from top right to bottom right (a line),
> then beside that line...until top left to bottom left.
>
> But now (especially on computer), we just write from left to right and
> top to bottom.
>
> These features exist for Chinese, no matter how you write.

Hm. I learned that that's not the case in Korean, and I don't know if FO
supports them yet, so not sure I will use that.


Thanks a lot!
Stefan.

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Re: Some questions about CJK fonts

Marguerite Su
Hi, Stefan,

On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 9:27 PM, Stefan Knorr <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Hm, the problem I have is: what about e.g. menu items or product names,
> etc.? Should I just use the normal font there and hope that people "get
> it"?

There're a few ways:

1. use serif font for menu items in a sans-serif env, and sans-serif
font in a serif env;
2. use quotes for them,eg: open "kickoff launcher" - "Web Browsers" - "Chromium"
3. use different colors/text backgrounds for them like those in
Github. (anyway we css-ed them, right?)

I perfer the 2 or 3 choice. :-)

Marguerite
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