January 20, 2005

And god knows what people who use boustrophedonic writing do

After seeing the fourth item (or maybe it's the third) on this page, I have a question: do native speakers of languages that are not written from left to right tend to identify people in photos based on the direction they read and write? I would assume so, though it seems odd when it's mixed with left-to-right English text.

(And for the 99.99% of people who have no idea what the headline is about, here is the definition of "boustrophedon".)

Posted by Francis at 03:23 PM | TrackBack

I don't know, but there sure are lots of things on Moshe Dayan.
My first language is English, but I started learning to read Hebrew by five or so, and I never ever start reading a line of Hebrew on the left. On the other hand, I would guess that I've never read a photo caption in Hebrew. Well, I must've, I suppose. Not that I recall. So anyway, I haven't a clue what the proper instinct would be for someone who only learned a backwards language (such as English) second. It looks odd as dammit to me.
My advisor also suggests that the captions in Asian newspapers (that is, the American newspapers in Asian languages) run horizontally underneath the photos rather than vertically along the right edge, as one might expect. No idea how they would caption that photo (r-to-l or l-to-r, I mean, not politically).

Posted by: Vardibidian at January 20, 2005 07:26 PM

Thank you for the delightful addition to my vocabulary.

One of my favorite (and relatively useful) new words is "macadamized," meaning "paved," (as in a macadamized road).

Posted by: tracy rolling at January 21, 2005 11:04 AM