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You are here: Home / Conferences / Hong Kong 2012 / Programme / 11–14 October – General programme

Hanzi of the West, letters of the East

When Sat 13 Oct 1150
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Who Christoph Stahl

When I came to China in 2002, as a designer who was well-educated in Typography, I was fascinated with Chinese Characters and found they always looked nice. But at the same time I also found, that the usage of Latin Letters in China is horrific in many cases, especially when intermixed with Chinese. Often the words in Latin Language seem like disturbances. I hoped there was something I could do about it, which prompted me to write my doctoral thesis about “Hanzi of the West, Letters of the East”.

To understand the problems arising with the usage of Latin typography for the Chinese, I chose to try understanding the problem through researching the way Westerners dealt with Hanzi, when they first encountered them and how they tried to use Hanzi by themselves. I found that here as there, the wrong usage is caused by lack of understanding of how the other’s writing system works.
In the analytic part of my thesis, I tried to describe the differences and similarities between the writing systems and mapped the problems that arise in intermixed usage. In my lecture I want to share some of my observations and results.

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