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More on OS X 10.7 (Lion) Enhancements for Chinese

See the detailed information from Yale Chinese Mac.


i18n Enhancements Announced for Mac OSX 10.7 (Lion)


They're kind of scattered, but it looks like the next version of Mac OSX will be bringing lots of good enhancements for those working outside of English.

Asian Fonts and Text Input

Support for many scripts from South Asia has been lagging behind Windows, so I am personally pleased to see fonts for Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Telugu and Sinhala being added (especially since I took 12 credits of Sinhala back in the day). New fonts for Tamil, Devanagari, Gujarati and Urdu are also scheduled to be added as well as for Lao, Khmer and Myanmar.

Those working with East Asian languages should be able to access improved utilities for Chinese (filtering by tones, ordering radical/stroke), Japanese Kotoeri and Vietnamese (old and new orthography). The Chinese handwriting recognition software is also scheduled to include more support for Simplified Chines and Roman characters. Finally, Apple announced that Lion will support vertical text (typing and display)

Everyone will also be able to a new color emoji font.

In Safari

Improvements for Safari included:

  • Math ML support in Safari
  • Improved CSS3 support including vertical text, East Asian emphasis, auto hyphenation

Non-English Accessibility

Accessibility options for those not using 100% English are not available include Voiceover speech in 23 languages and expanded Braille options.


CSS Writing Modes Module Level 3: The Future of Vertical Text?


The latest draft of the CSS3 writing modules came out recently, and it includes revised specifications for how to handle vertical East Asian CJK text as well as specifications for RTL (right-to-left) text.

Although minimal support for RTL text has been around in recent years, vertical text remains a hurdle, partly because it's not clear which standards the vendors will agree to. The only browser I know supporting a vertical text spec is Internet Explorer, but it's layout specification was developed by Microsoft, and it does not appear that it is being adopted as is for CSS 3 (see proposed CSS 3 vertical properties for details). It also looks like a vertical text scheme for SVG is also being deprecated.

Will vertical text be possible across platforms? Only time will tell.


Chinese Manual Typewriter - Explanation and Video


Over at Language Log, linguist Victor Mair has written an nice article about how a manual "typewriter" in Chinese/Japanese works complete with two YouTube video demonstrations.

The video shows how time intensive it was, and I would also say that it's not so much a type writer as a miniature printing press. Blocks for characters are stored in a tray and an operator moves the imprinting device over the correct character to make an impression on the paper (hunt and punch?). One tray holds about 2,000-3,000 characters, but extra trays are available with additional, rarer characters. Wow.

Computers have changed the process because many Japanese and Chinese typists can enter a Romanized syllable equivalent (e.g. "MA") and then select from a list of appropriate characters. In Chinese characters are further organized by stroke radical in many input methods. In any case, these methods allow users to use a smaller, Roman alphabet type keyboard, but there's still an amazing amount of computer and human processing.


Correction: No Hangul in Indonesia


In Aug 2009, it was reported that Cia Cia, a minority language of Indonesia was planning to adopt Korean Hangul as its writing system ( Korean Script Heads to Indonesia). Unfortunately, it turns out that nothing official had happened yet, although specialists in Korea had been talking with the Cia Cia community. However, it appears likely that the Indonesian government would require that any indigenous language adopt the Roman alphabet (also used for modern Bahasa Indonesian, the official language of Indonesia).

Too bad - it was an interesting concept. There are other historic scripts in Indonesia besides the Roman alphabet, but Hangul may not be joining them in the near future.


Korean Setup Info (Even Mac!)


For whatever reason, I've found it difficult to find detailed, up-to-date information on how to type Korean on Windows and for years, almost nothing on the Macintosh. But in this year's Computing with Accents Site cleanup, I had a little better luck. See links below - or you can visit the Korean page.




Computer Setup Info from Yes Japan


If you are wondering how to work with Japanese outside of Japan, you may want to see the instructions from YesJapan. They are detailed, have lots of screen capture illustrations and are caught up to Windows 7 and the recent Mac OS X options.


Chinese Trackpad (Handwriting Recognition) on Mac Snow Leopard


Mac System 10.6 (Snow Leopard) now includes a handwriting recognition option for inputting Chinese (Simplified or Traditional), which is an adaptation from the iPhone 2.0 system. The rest of the entry will provide instructions on how to activate it, but note that it only works on a laptop with a trackpad. As far as I can tell, you cannot do this with a mouse.


  1. Go to the Apple menu and open Systems Preferences.
  2. Click Language & Text (U.N. flag icon).
    Systems Preferences screen cap
  3. Click the tab for Input Sources check either Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese. Make sure that the Trackpad Handwriting option is also checked.
    Input Sources screencap with Chinese options=Pinyin,Trackpad, Wubi Xing, Zhuyin, etc
  4. Close the System Preferences window.

Use the Trackpad

  1. Open a software application such as a word processor, spread-sheet or any other application in which you need to enter text.
  2. On the upper right portion of the screen, click on the American flag icon (U.S. Flag Icon). Use the dropdown menu to select Show Trackpad Writing.
    Menu under American flag
  3. A welcome message will be displayed. Click OK to open the track pad.
  4. A semi transparent dark gray window appears. You can draw in the trackpad and see the list of suggested characters. Note that a delete button is shown in the upper left
    Trackpad with Chinese character drawn
  5. To select a character, drag your finger on the right edge of the trackpad until the correct character is highlighted, then tap once.
  6. To clear the trackpad, tap once on the upper left corner.
  7. To exit the track pad, press Shift+Control+SpaceBar
  8. To disable the track pad, open the Language and Text options in System Preferences and uncheck the trackpad options.

Note to fellow ETS Employees: Trackpad interferes with SnapzPro, so be warned if you are testing or planning to use this.


I don't know the Chinese script, so can't judge the accuracy or ease of the input. However, I would warn that the trackpad disables normal keyboard and mouse operations. For instance, if you need to switch applications, you need to close the track pad (Shift+Control+Spacebar, do the switch, then reopen the trackpad from the flag/keyboard menu). Not very convenient.

It's important to remember that this was built for the iPhone, so probably works best there.

Video Demo (from shoki6229)

Postscript: Japanese

One may wonder how the trackpad handles Japanese, and the answer seems to be that while you can input Chinese characters (kanji), or at least the ones still used in Traditional Chinese, you really can't input Hiragana or Katakana. That means you would need to toggle between the Trackpad and alternate methods of Japanes input. In fact the Trackpad is NOT listed in the menu of Japanese input methods in Snow Leopard.


Typing Pinyin on Windows How To Videos


I'm updating resources on the Penn State Computing with Accents Chinese page, and was looking for new resources. One was a YouTube video from "geekannex" shown below.

It goes through the installation and activation of the Chinese input utitlies, then explains to use the pinyin option to type in Roman letters and then have it be converted to Simplified Chinese (a phonetic option is also available for Traditional Chinese and Japanese). It's for Windows XP, but truthfully the process has not changed much since then.

And yes there is one for the Mac from "rohanr2".

FYI - Mac SnowLeopard now has a "Trackpad" option which uses handwriting recognitiion, but since I haven't done any research (yet), I can't tell you if it's worthwhile or not. You can always look at YouTube for video demonstrations.


Pinyin Joe: Chinese Updated for Windows 7


I'm hoping to have Windows 7 here installed here in a few weeks, but there are some resources out there. One I would recommend for Chinese is Pinyin Joe. He's been around for a long time, but his Windows 7 page is quite up to date with information about fonts (including those with the Hong Kong characters (HKCS)), input options, Bopomof and non-hanzi scripts such as Yi, and Tibetan.

As a bonus, the site also maintains information for Windows Vista and XP as well as Ubunto Linux. Very helpful.

FYI - If you're a Mac person, you may want to check Yale's Chinese Mac. They're not quite up to 10.6 yet, but information from previous versions should get you caught up in no time.


About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage ( for a profile.


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