Main Foreign Looking Font Discussion

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07:38:39 AM Jan 20th 2017
Are there reverse examples? When for audience from 'more exotic' country font is shaped to look like Western-ish?
10:42:12 AM Mar 14th 2014
edited by
I just removed this bullet point from The Lord of the Rings movie example:

  • Which is more inappropriate considering the fact Tolkien's Tengwar script is 100% phonetic (and devised as such by the highly qualified philologist Tolkien was) to render the sounds of any possible language - you can write anything in English or any other language in Tengwar and it will be easily understood by someone who knows the script.

Other than this being superfluous to the use of the trope in the movies, this is wrong in itself. If you'll let me be a nerd and rant about Tengwar:

Tengwar is NOT a phonetic script which will allow anyone to pronounce right a text written it in (let alone understand it, which is laughable). It was certainly meant to be used as a phonetic script, but within a given language: it's actually a featural script without de jure defined sound values for the symbols (but many became de facto; see below). The relation between English P and B (which are the same sound, except voiceless and voiced) is represented; as well as that between P and F (a stop and a fricative) and P and T (bilabial and dental). But nothing stops any language from using the relations in the script to represent any given relation in the language: the Quenya cluster NGW (as in English anguish) is spelt with the same letter as the English G.

Fair enough, "by the Third Age" (the time of LOTR) many of the relations in the script had settled down and were more-or-less consistently applied to phonetic relations in any language (say, a P or T were so throughout; also B, D, F... outside of Quenya, which was the first language spelt in Tengwar). Still, there was a lot of allowed variation across languages, especially in the vowels, so that's far from a truly international phonetic script.

Finally, which makes this bullet point most egregious, Tolkien allowed "orthographical" use of Tengwar: in-universe apparently mostly for sound changes where the spelling wasn't changed, but in real life he often used a Tengwar mode for English that represented the normal ortography (though not in all points: the difference between TH as in this and thin was represented, as well as mute E's).

Now, regarding the use of this trope in the movie, I don't really recall anything other than A's written with the three-dot tehta (the same diacritic which is usually used in Tengwar for a sound more like English ah). While this is the default value for that diacritic, Tolkien certainly used it for the English letter A in ortographic modes of English, even when it's pronounced // (as in cat) or AY.

So yeah, this is pretty much completely wrong.
01:17:15 PM Feb 18th 2013
edited by DaibhidC
Pulled this from the Jingo entry:
  • lampshaded, averted and subverted by Fred Colon, Nobby Nobbs and Vetinari. Colon makes a complete fool of himself (more than usual, at any rate) by attempting to pose as a Klatchian IN KLATCH, using Just a Stupid Accent which gets him precisely nowhere and leads to his being persuaded to repeat a local joke under the impression that it is the information he is seeking. Nobby, however, takes refuge in Rule of Funny and appears to be able to communicate with the local women (while disguised as a woman) to the extent of telling what appears to be a version of the "12-inch pianist" joke, without any use of the local font, but without spotting Colon's mistake. Vetinari, in turn, denies speaking the language at all but again appears to be quite capable of understanding and being understood, again all in standard font - probably Rule of Cool, in his case. Colon then rounds off the whole routone by what amounts to a bilingual pun, by which he is thought to come from the city of Ur, apparently a byword for bucolic stupidity in Klatch.

Partly because I'm not really sure the absence of a Foreign-Looking Font in this scene is relevent to the trope, but mostly because it's firmy established right at the start that because this is an international caravanesi with people from various Klatchian countries with different languages, they all speak Morporkian, and wouldn't find anything odd in a group of entertainers doing so.
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