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I am wondering why is it that 言 looks different in different fonts. In Gothic, the topmost part is just a horizontal line while in Google Search, it is a drop. I am really confused about what is really the proper way of writing this kanji.

marked as duplicate by droooze, ajsmart, Blavius, Dono, Community Jan 17 at 5:07

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Handwritten kanji should follow the shapes of [教科書体]{きょうかしょたい} (textbook fonts). If you're unsure of the handwritten shape, you can utilise font previews to check what they're supposed to be. For example, HG Kyokashotai by Ricoh displays the shape as

enter image description here


Handwritten shapes are different from Gothic, because they come from two separate traditions. Handwriting derives from regular script brush calligraphy (楷書), while Gothic is derived from Ming typeface (明朝体).

The shape of「言」(to speak) can be traced like the following. Note that「言」was originally comprised of one or two horizontal marks in the shape of「一・二」on top of「舌」(tongue).

Series A - Ancient inscription styles

A1


enter image description here
499
合集30697
A2
西周

enter image description here
伯矩鼎
集成2456
A3
戰國

enter image description here
中山王方壺
集成9735
A4


enter image description here
說文解字
 

Series B - Brush or pen writing styles

B1


enter image description here
信1・03
 
B2


enter image description here
1
 
B3
西漢
篆・
enter image description here
老子・甲
 
B4
王羲之

enter image description here
蘭亭序
 
B5


enter image description here
HG正楷書体
 
B6

教科書體
enter image description here
HG教科書体
 

Series C - Print styles

C1

宋朝體
enter image description here
朱慶餘詩集
 
C2

明朝體
enter image description here
康熙字典
 
C3

明朝體
enter image description here
HG明朝
 
C4

ゴシック體
enter image description here
HGゴシック
 

The handwritten and print styles are both newer than the ancient inscription styles, and have shapes which originate from one of the older styles. However, they will also often develop in their own way, whilst sometimes incorporating features from an older style.

The drop in「言」has long been a brush calligraphy feature (see transition from「B3」to「B4」), and was passed on to the earliest print shape「C1」, but later print styles changed in their aesthetic qualities, and sometimes also re-incorporated features from older inscription shapes.

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言's first stroke is different in handwriting and in computer code, mainly because it is more recognizeble in lower resolutions as a horizontal line.

When you are handwriting, you should draw the first stroke like shown in the picture, as a diagonal line:

notice that the app recognized the kanji

Notice that in most digital media, the word kanji(言)'s first stroke is a horizontal line

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    Forms with the horizontal stroke are much, much older than the invention of the computer or digital display of Chinese characters, and they are still often used when the resolution is not a limiting factor, so I don't think this can be the right explanation. – snailcar Jan 14 at 3:09
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    I personally think that downvoting this is a bit harsh. It answered the main question correctly, even though the reasoning was a bit off. Correct kanji explanations are extremely difficult to come by. – droooze Jan 14 at 10:18

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