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  1. #1
    Eway is offline Senior Member
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    How can I express this writing direction thing?

    Well, in English, you always write from left to right.
    But, in Chinese, we may write from left to right, from right to left as well as "from up to down",
    like these characters on the top right corner here:
    http://www.joetsang.net/chineseway/dongc.jpg

    But I'm sure "from up to down" must be incorrect English.
    How can I express this in English then?

    Also, "from left to right", "from right to left", etc. sound rather colloquial.
    Is there a more formal way to say it?
    May it be something like "vertical writing", "horizontal writing", "lateral writing" or.....?

  2. #2
    AintFoolin Guest

    Re: How can I express this writing direction thing?

    top to bottom

  3. #3
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    Re: How can I express this writing direction thing?

    "Left to right" and "right to left" are the proper phrasings. "Horizontal writing" doesn't tell us the direction, so it's not a helpful description. "FROM left to right" is wordy (too many words); "left to right" is both sufficient and preferable.

  4. #4
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: How can I express this writing direction thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by battlekittyspastica View Post
    "Left to right" and "right to left" are the proper phrasings. "Horizontal writing" doesn't tell us the direction, so it's not a helpful description. "FROM left to right" is wordy (too many words); "left to right" is both sufficient and preferable.
    And left to right alternating with right to left is boustrophedonical. Not many people write that way (Soup might know if there were any), but some line- and dot-matrix- printers used to.

    b

  5. #5
    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: How can I express this writing direction thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    And left to right alternating with right to left is boustrophedonical. Not many people write that way (Soup might know if there were any), but some line- and dot-matrix- printers used to.

    b
    There's a very nice metaphor hidden here: in Greek the literal meaning of "boustrophedon" is "the way an ox plows the field". Ancient Egyptian and Semitic writing was horizontal right-to-left, as Hebrew and Arabic still are, but the Greeks and Romans passed through the intermediate stage before settling on left-to-right. If you look closely at the Hebrew and Latin alphabet, you'll see that some corresponding symbols are a little bit similar, but are flipped horizontally.

  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: How can I express this writing direction thing?

    I was going to mention the ox, but didn't have time to research it properly.

    b

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