1. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    An English variant of Furigana/Ateji?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Inks, Jan 13, 2016.

    For those unaware of Furigana - they are phonetic aids appearing above Kanji in Japanese. Furigana use is primarily geared for younger readers or rare words that most adults do not know. Both have been essential parts of my language learning, but the use allows for much wordplay with Ateji. For context, Ateji allows a specific Kanji to be given (for the meaning) while possessing a different phonetic components (what was said).

    Wikipedia gives an example whereby an Astronaut in a Sci-fi setting may refer to Earth with the phonetic of "my hometown" instead of the proper pronunciation for Earth. In print this allows for additional nuance that breaks the boundaries of normal conversations, adding emotion and depth to important conversations.

    Essentially, I want to be able to write a dialogue where I can use these layered meanings without distracting the reader and providing additional nuance to the character thought patterns while still remaining faithful to the intention. Currently, the only way I can do this is by having a secondary line above the original words by basically forcing the writing program to do this. And it is really annoying, so I was wondering if there was an easier way to do this.

    I searched for awhile, but could not find anything in English about how to accomplish this.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In an alphabet system or syllabary system, the closest thing that sounds like are diacritics, though, trust me, I know this falls short of the mark of what you are describing. But it's the closest. There is nothing like that particular kind of word play in English. All languages have their little games that one can play, but they aren't always transferable. :) I am reminded, though, as regards orthographic representation, of China Miéville's Embassytown. The purpose of this orthography is very different in this book, but it would at least appear to have a similar visual format to what you mean. The forum software does not support this format, so a linked pic will have to do....

    Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 6.50.16 PM.png
     
  3. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    You keep making more interested and very concerned about China Miéville! I have yet to read any of his works and yet they keep striking a chord with what I am struggling to work out in some elegant form. Going to try and get this Embassytown book and give it a read. Yes, it being not exactly what I am looking for, but the way shown on Wikipedia is somehow greater than the representation in the Amazon Ebook version of Miéville's work itself which depicts the names with less impact (i.e. EzRa). I feel unusually strongly about the presentation of language and the way in which text is perceived. As a bit of a joke, if you want to curse someone - teach them about good kerning and fonts and they will never look at written material in the same way again.

    To illustrate to others who may be deterred by the niche topic, I present the following:



    The text concerns Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z saying "オレは…冷蔵庫だ" with the Ateji reading being "超ベジータ”. In English the Kanji (showing the meaning) reads "I am a refrigerator!" and the Ateji says what Vegeta is actually speaking which is "I am Super Vegeta!" His name is used by a line of refrigerators and thus you know the pun.

    Several forms of Ateji exist and I am primarily interested in the diverse meanings since that is how my WIP works. Wreybies.. you are so awesome... you know that?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016

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