I notice that some typefaces (especially ones used in old texts) have some radicals displayed differently than what I usually see. For example sometimes I see the 糹 (left-side) radical displayed like 糸 (compare bottom three strokes), the 示 (left-side) radical displayed like , the 食 (left-side) radical displayed like 𩙿, and the 隹 radical (compare top dot) displayed like . Would it be considered odd for people to actually hand write these radicals this way? Or is this more of a "old/computer typeface" kind of thing?

  • The characters along the top in the images you link to are seal script. They are not used in everyday writing. They connote ancientness, in a way that could be used to convey respect, and as such are sometimes used in marketing. :-P
    – Brian Tung
    Aug 17, 2016 at 0:28
  • 篆文隶变产生分歧。 三十字三十字三十字三十字三十字三十字三十字 Nov 8, 2016 at 14:19

4 Answers 4


They are just different writing styles which we can tolerate.Because the governments in Chinese using regions have established standards on which is the right way (正體字, lit. correct form character) and which is the wrong way (異體字, lit. different form character), these typefaces are used less and less.

Please see:

I'm not studying language, but as far as I know, the modern Chinese typeface is based on Seal Script and how it was evolved. Each component of a character in Seal Script corresponds to "the basic 8 strokes" and this is how the Ming/Song typeface is based on.

And so, because of this very fact, Hong Kong and Taiwan defines different characters as the "correct form", one example might be window (left: HK; right: TW)

And you mentioned "食":

enter image description here

from: http://www.zdic.net/z/28/zy/98FD.htm In the second row, you can see the correct form in different regions: (left to right) Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Old typeface. The third row are different forms of "飽" that means the same but not considered standards and I know none of them except "饱" which is used in Mainland China.

For comparison, this is the same character in Seal Script, so you can see how the curvy lines are adapted into straighter lines:

Seal Script

from http://www.chineseetymology.org


We don't use that kind of typeface in hand writing. It just an old typeface. We uses it in artworks or some design.


In modern times, old typeface is universal in patterns, calligraphy and seals(most).

google pictures "chinese seal", to get some examples.

Commonly, we won't use that. Now the typeface we use is called 行書 or 楷書

  • I don't think OP is talking about Seal Script Oct 10, 2016 at 13:19

Q : Would it be considered odd for people to actually hand write these radicals this way? Yes. Just treat it similar to English cursive, gothic writing style. It has become art than practical handwriting.

Q: is this more of a "old/computer typeface" kind of thing? Variance of radical display not coming from computer typeface. In fact, it came from the early day of press printing development, where individual lead stamp is putting together to form a paragraph.

The old day lead stamp manufacturing process can't deal perfectly with individual stamp structural requirement. Some stamp may damage easily, so some the early manufacture use replacement radicals.

In the era of the laser printing, micro printing, all this deem obsolete. But bad habits/practice die hard.

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