Re: glyph variants

From: Mark Davis (
Date: Fri Sep 03 1999 - 23:03:58 EDT

Option number one is the right one: an Ethiopic font should contain a
period (full stop) that is of the appropriate shape for the Ethiopic
characters in the font. This is even the case in Latin-only fonts:
parentheses, commas, quotation marks and other common punctuation will
vary significantly according to font design.

The problem comes in when a 'super' font is created that spans a whole
range of characters with possibly very different styles for different
scripts, such as Arial Unicode MS. In that case, the shapes of common
characters may be compromises based on the expected usage.

Mark wrote:

> For all the discussion that went on this week during the
> conference about glyph variants for CJK, I never thought to ask
> about this:
> Because of the near ubiquitous use of Latin, I'd imagine that
> anyone shipping a font for a non-Latin script would probably
> also include glyphs for at least the Basic Latin and maybe also
> Latin-1 blocks.
> Now, I want to build an Ethiopic font. Ethiopic has a full stop
> that consists of 4 dots, but I understand that there is also a
> single dot (similar to latin full stop) used for abbreviations.
> (I'll call the Latin/Ethiopic single dot characters "period" to
> avoid confusion.) Now, the period glyph that's needed to go
> with Ethiopic glyphs is (typically) slightly larger and
> slightly more widely spaced than would be the period glyph
> that's needed for to go with Latin glyphs. So, here's a glyph
> variation problem that has nothing to do with CJK.
> Of course, we heard from Dirk Meyer and from John Jenkins that
> such problems can be solved in OpenType and AAT. But for the
> moment, not many apps out there have the infrastructure built
> in to deal with that yet.
> The only options I can think of for existing apps are:
> - Just make the glyph mapped from U+0027 the one suited for
> Ethiopic, since the font is primarily intended for Ethiopic,
> and only secondarily for Latin; i.e. there's no period glyph
> suited for Latin.
> - Do the above for the Ethiopic glyph, and map the Latin glyph
> from U+2024 ONE DOT LEADER.
> - Map the Latin period from U+0027 and the Ethiopic period from
> U+2024.
> (I'm facing similar issues for Yi, but with Yi I can also
> consider using U+FF0E FULLWIDTH FULL STOP.)
> Any opinions on the best solution?
> Peter

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