Gregg Reynolds wrote on 1999-08-23 04:17 UTC:
> "Bilingual Typography", by Alistair Crawford, in "Visible Langauge",
> Vol. XXI, nbr 1, Winter 1987.
> From the article:
> "The shape and style of the typefaces used in the visual
> presentation of any language must be determined, not by habit or
> expediency, but by the visual characteristics of that language."
> "'Technological' typefaces, in fact, reflect a monopolistic cultural
> arrogance on a grander scale than previously seen."
There is certainly some truth in that. Practical examples:
- German has capitalized nouns, therefore capital characters appear
quite frequently in the text. In English on the other hand, a
capital letter only denotes the start of a new sentence, a name,
or shouting corporate lawyers. Many good German fonts have therefore
less prominent capitals. They are usually a bit less wide then
what is common practice in fonts designed for English publications.
The dominance of fonts designed for English writing markets has
certainly had a negative impact on the quality of typography found
in German texts today (except for some high-quality publishers who
still care about such issues). Even horrible constructs like a
beta-shaped sharp-s U+00df become acceptable today (as opposed to
a sharp s that is correctly shaped as a ligature of s + long s
(U+0073 + U+017f))
- The kerning of some fonts is often only carefully tested for
the small subset of letter pairs that is common in English.
Other languages have a different subset of common digraphs
and fonts that were originally designed for the US market sometimes
Unicode 2.0 errata:
Would it be possible to add to LATIN SMALL LETTER SHARP S U+00DF a
cross-reference to U+0073 + U+017f in the Unicode 3.0 book? The current
cross-reference to beta and the glyph used for sharp s (just a beta
without long leg) really gives the reader (and font designer) the
impression that the sharp s is a glyph variant of the beta, which would
be definitely wrong. Making the reader aware that the sharp s derives
historically from a U+0073 + U+017f ligature will hopefully lead font
designers without experience in German typography to coming up with more
appropriate glyphs than the common beta variant.
-- Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK Email: mkuhn at acm.org, WWW: <http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/>
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