1 2 3 Previous Next 67 Replies Latest reply: Jan 15, 2013 3:59 PM by huocp
mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Any ideas how I can find the names of iOS' Simplified Chinese fonts?

 

Background:  iOS has two Simplified Chinese fonts, one of which is perfectly reasonable, but the other is ... bizarre!  If your iOS device was brought up in English, and then you add Simplified Chinese as an International keyboard, it gives you the "bizarre" font.  If you then change your device's screen language to Simplified Chinese, it switches over to the normal-looking font (thank you!), and it stays using the correct font, even if you switch your screen language back to English.

 

My wife and step-daughter, from Harbin in Northwest China, agree that it looks really bizarre, and attrribute it to weird things computers do.  I personally think it goes way beyond font stylization;  I think that font is just plain wrong, pure and simple!  Strokes are missing or added, entire pieces of characters are drawn entirely incorrectly, "dian" strokes are replaced with "shu wan gou" strokes, etc.

 

I have my iOS devices set to use the correct font, but I'm finding that a few programs (including Rosetta Stone, eeeeeek!) use the el-bizarro font.  I'd like to request that these programs switch over to the correct font, and petition Apple to excise the bizarre font entirely from iOS.  To do that, however, I'd have to know what that font is called.  Any ideas how I can find out?


iPhone 4, iOS 5
  • 1. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    wjosten Level 10 Level 10 (93,285 points)

    Don't know if this is of any help, but here's a list of iOS fonts:

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4980

  • 2. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the reply!  I'm also not sure whether it'll help, but I'll look into it further.

  • 3. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,735 points)

    mr88cet wrote:

     

    Thanks for the reply!  I'm also not sure whether it'll help, but I'll look into it further.

     

    Are you perhaps unaware of the differences between Japanese and Chinese fonts for Han characters?  If so, that may explain your reaction.  Which of the two kinds of fonts gets used depends on the order of the languages in the settings.  Switching your user interface to Chinese will move that language to the top and switch the font from the Japanese version to the Chinese version if the former was previously higher on the list.

     

    Of course Apple is not going to remove the Japanese font.  But you could ask Apple to make a separate setting for this particular item (I think there was one in an early version of iOS).

     

    http://m10lmac.blogspot.com/2011/11/fixing-chinese-display-in-ios.html

     

    To ask Apple:

     

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

  • 4. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    That is certainly an interesting observation, and some of the ... weirdness ... of this font is reminiscent of the picture shown here.

     

    However, this bizarre font couldn't possibly be a Japanese font, because it is very definitely Simplified Chinese (e.g., its "yanzi pang" is 讠 instead of 言), whereas Kanji is based upon Traditional Chinese.  Simplified was invented when the CCP came into power, so it's not used in Taiwan or Hong Kong, much less Japan.  (That, although, interestingly, Singapore looked at it and said, "OK, sounds fine by me," and adopted it too.)

     

    It's highly likely that Apple didn't invent this font, because at least some of its bizarre characters - and probably the entire font - have also been seen under Firefox on Unix/Linux machines.  Highly likely, Apple for whatever reason, bought a license to this font, apparently not realizing that it is ... well, frankly, defective ...

     

    So, it could perhaps be that the person who created that font was influenced by Kanji, or otherwise by Japanese viewpoints of what Chinese characters should look like, and created that font to look like what they "know and love."  Whatever its origins though, you're not going to see this kind of writing in Mainland China, much less in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore or even San Francisco.

     

    I think Apple should dump that font entirely, and Rosetta Stone sure as heck shouldn't be using it to teach people how to write Chinese! 

  • 5. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,735 points)

    mr88cet wrote:

     

    However, this bizarre font couldn't possibly be a Japanese font, because it is very definitely Simplified Chinese (e.g., its "yanzi pang" is 讠 instead of 言), whereas Kanji is based upon Traditional Chinese.  Simplified was invented when the CCP came into power, so it's not used in Taiwan or Hong Kong, much less Japan. 

     

    Could you provide screen shots of a few more characters (with identification) which you think are defective Simplified Chinese and not Japanese?  Email me if you like (tom at bluesky dot org).  I'm not aware of anyone else, here or in the Chinese Mac group, who has found an issue like this with the only Chinese fonts (STHeiti SC/TC) in iOS.  The Japanese font is Hiragino.

  • 6. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I will attempt to do so.  I say "attempt to" because my iOS devices have all been switched over to the correct font (after several years of that font driving me bonkers, not knowing until a few months ago how to switch to the correct font).  However, Rosetta Stone and maybe one or two other apps continue to use the bizarre font.  So, the only way I know of to get pictures of these bizarre-font characters is by catching them in Rosetta Stone. 

     

    However, I'm planning on doing a big review catch-up today anyway, so as I do so, I'll see about taking screen-shots of the ones that I know are going to be different from Traditional Chinese, and therefore almost certainly different from Kanji.

     

    Ah!  Since I've seen what appears to be this same bizarre font under Linux Firefox, maybe I'll be able to take screenshots of the screwed-up characters, next to the way they should be written, using www.archchinese.com under CloudBrowse.

     

    To clarify my background on all this, I've been studying Chinese as a hobby for nearly 8 years, since I first met my wife over the Internet.  However, I've mostly concentrated on spoken Mandarin.  In fact, my Mandarin is better than her English, so we mostly speak Mandarin at home, here in Austin, TX!  I can write Chinese fairly successfully using Pinyin entry, with all the help the computers give us, but if you were to stick a pen and blank sheet of paper in front of me, I'd be pretty lost!

     

    So, I'm going over Rosetta Stone now, mostly just to learn writing, since almost all of the vocabulary they're teaching I already know as spoken Mandarin words.  So, I was rather bummed out to see that, even though I've switched my iOS devices over to the correct font, Rosetta Stone somehow still uses the bizarre font.

     

    Anyway, yes, I'll try to take some pictures.

  • 7. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have one easy example of a "weird" character in this font that is "weird" for no discernable reason at all, as opposed to as a throwback to Traditional Characters, which, in this case at least, are very likely to match Kanji.

     

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure how to show it to you, because this forum doesn't appear to allow us to paste in-line graphics into our posts...

     

    Do I have to make a web page out of the illustration?

  • 8. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,735 points)

    You should be able to upload a graphic by clicking on the camera icon at the top of the reply window.  Or just email me.

     

    Is the one easy example you found by chance men2?  That one is a known bug/oddity in the Hiragino Japanese font.

     

    http://m10lmac.blogspot.com/2011/09/odd-chinese-display-issue.html

  • 9. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hmmm...  I just tried using the camera button to paste in a snippet that shows several of the pointlessly-weird characters, but it gave me an error message saying "the content type of this image is not allowed."  Not sure what that means...

     

    Yes, the men2 character was my obvious example.  So you're saying that the Hiragino Japanese font also does that?  Why the heck would it do that?  I've seen an advertisement in Japanese wherein the equivalent character matches Traditional Chinese.

     

    In any case, this is clearly not a Japanese font, because it does use Simplified-Chinese simplifications, such as the radicals that changed (e.g., yanzi pang, or the food-related one on the left side of fan4), however, from everything you said, it would not surprise me if the "weird" aspects of this font are indeed patterned after this Japanese font you mentioned.  Perhaps the same person authored both fonts?

  • 10. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Oh, another easily-visible illustration that it is definitely a Simplified-Chinese font, is that the very-common "ge4" character is the usual Simplified-Chinese character that looks kinda like an arrow pointing upward, whereas in Traditional, it's a very complicated character.

     

    Dang, it's hard to discuss this topic when you can't include any of these characters in the posts! 

  • 11. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Another illustration that this is clearly a Simplified Chinese font is the "jian4" character of "zai4 jian4" (goodbye) fame, and all of the characters that use it as a portion of the character.  In Traditional, the top half of that character (as I recall) is a rectangle with two horizontal lines (hang2 strokes) through the middle, whereas in Simplified, the top half of that character is an empty box open at the bottom, and the strokes of the "er2" (er2 zi, meaning "son") lower half extend upward into that box. 

     

    Dang, it's hard to describe these visual images in words, and English words at that!

  • 12. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,735 points)

    mr88cet wrote:

     

      So you're saying that the Hiragino Japanese font also does that?  Why the heck would it do that?  I've seen an advertisement in Japanese wherein the equivalent character matches Traditional Chinese.

     

     

    Japanese text will probably never have in it the simplified Chinese character for men2, so the bug in the font only affects people trying to read simplified Chinese with the wrong font.

     

    The Japanese font may include lots of additional simplified Chinese characters that would not normally occur in Japanese text.    I am curious to see others that deviate from what one finds in Chinese fonts.

  • 13. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    mr88cet Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I guess I need to create a web page to illustrate, since I can't post images of them here...

  • 14. Re: Bizarre Simplified Chinese Font
    Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (71,735 points)

    mr88cet wrote:

     

    Oh, another easily-visible illustration that it is definitely a Simplified-Chinese font, is that the very-common "ge4" character is the usual Simplified-Chinese character that looks kinda like an arrow pointing upward, whereas in Traditional, it's a very complicated character.

     

     

    That's fine, it is still a Japanese font.  It just has SC characters in it too.  The traditional or kanji character is distinct and has a different codepoint.

     

    Screen Shot 2012-09-07 at 9.13.39 AM.png

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