Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Windows 8: inexplicable language

Windows 8: Beautiful and fast

Sorry to be a vector for viral marketing, but I just love these Windows 8 ads for the East Asian market, originally released under the collective title Windows 8 Training Camp (there is a third, Multitask, that's mildly amusing but rather flat compared to these other two, which make perfect use of the "rule of three" construction).

Windows 8: The power of touch

The humour being chiefly visual, they work perfectly well even if you don't know the language - except that it seems no-one does, not even people from East Asia.

Victor Mair analyses the language at Language Log - The enigmatic language of the new Windows 8 ads - and the article and ensuing discussion covers theories including its being some obscure minority dialect of Chinese; some East Asian language mangled by non-native speakers; ditto by illiterate local speakers contracted in cheaply; or some well-constructed Sino-gibberish, with a certain amount of Mandarin embedded, made to sound like an East Asian tonal language. All Microsoft has said of the videos is this ...
We created these online-only social videos for the Asian market, where they were well-received.
... although they work so brilliantly minus language that even this is a trifle suspect; maybe they always were meant for the Western market.

- Ray

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