A language in its own language
February 24, 2008 6:57 PM   Subscribe

I need to prepare some labels with seven different languages printed in their own written language.

This is what I have so far:
Cantonese, should I use the simplified or the traditional (or doesn't it matter)?
Hindi, I'm not having any luck. I think I need to install something to see the characters.
Korean, should I use Hangugeo or Chosŏnmal?
Turkish, do I write it as Türkçe?
Vietnamese, do I write it as tiếng Việt?
posted by tellurian to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
Best answer: If you trust Wikipedia, you can use their list of languages they are in as a reference.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:50 PM on February 24, 2008

Best answer: Hindi
posted by dhruva at 8:28 PM on February 24, 2008

Simplified Chinese script is what's used in mainland China. Traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan, most overseas Chinese communities - and Hong Kong, I think?
posted by XMLicious at 8:51 PM on February 24, 2008

Also, here's the Wikipedia page on installing Indic text support.

And note that Arabic and Farsi are right-to-left languages, so if you're left-aligning the other ones you would want to right-align those instead.
posted by XMLicious at 8:58 PM on February 24, 2008

Best answer: This image contains two acceptable orthographies of the word "Hindi" written in Devanagari script (conveniently separated by the English word "or", just to be entirely clear). I think that's what you're looking for - the name of each language written in its respective writing system?

I believe the preferred one is the one on the right, where the "n" sound is represented by the bindu (dot) above the line, but I'd defer to a native speaker/writer on that. If the image disappears, send MeFi mail or something.
posted by rkent at 10:14 PM on February 24, 2008

Best answer: your rendering of Vietnamese is fine. (basically, tiếng is language and Việt is, well, Vietnamese. English is tiếng Anh, French is tiếng Pháp, etc.)
posted by whatzit at 4:29 AM on February 25, 2008

Best answer: I had been under the impression that Traditional Chinese was used for Cantonese and other non-Putonghua dialects because the Simplified Chinese was developed as a form of standardization and there was little incentive for the unstandardized dialects to adopt it.

At any rate, your rendition is fine, if you're certain there are no mainlanders in attendance. Seeing the Canto but not the Mandarin version would've bugged me. Not a lot and I would've forgotten about it in 10 minutes, but still.
posted by Phire at 8:07 AM on February 26, 2008

Huh, Phire, I barely speak and read Putonghua at a 1st year conversational level, so I'm not saying this from a 1st hand experience point of view. Is the word order different when something's written by a Cantonese speaker? Does the PRC put out publications in Traditional for non-Putonghua languages like Cantonese or Hakka or Miao? I thought the whole thing was that there are so many different languages in China that the writing system was developed to be independent of spoken language.

But in any case, providing labels in both Traditional and Simplified seems like a good idea, whether the difference in usage is geographical or ethnic.
posted by XMLicious at 4:51 PM on February 26, 2008

The written system itself should be independent, yeah, but it's kind of accepted that Simplified Chinese is for the "mainland", by which I mean the more populated and industrialized area towards the east. People from Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. are rather disdainful of the simplified form as the traditional form is more, well, traditional, and beautiful. The PRC though isn't too concerned with its minorities, as far as I know. It's been a while since I lived there, so.

Using Traditional Chinese for certain publications is more a nod of acknowledgement to the intended audience, really. There's definitely a difference in how the sentences are formed so you wouldn't be able to learn Canto pronounciation and speak Canto using Mando syntax, but proper/formal publications should be understandable to those who are literate regardless of dialect.
posted by Phire at 7:09 PM on February 26, 2008

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