Re: IPA a vowels

From: John Cowan (
Date: Thu Sep 09 1999 - 16:56:34 EDT scripsit:

> The problem with this unification is that the only graphic difference
> between the <back> and <front> vowel signs is the presence or the absence of
> the "nose" (or "hook") on the top of the letter.
> In IPA it is normative that <front, open, not rounded> has a "nose" and that
> <back, open, not rounded> has no "nose", while in the ordinary Latin
> alphabet, having a "nose" or not is only a matter of taste. There are many
> fonts that have a "noseless a" (e.g. Futura, Modern, most script-like fonts,
> most italic fonts).

Don't use those fonts for writing IPA, then. A generic Unicode font has
to make such a distinction, but there's no reason why every font has to be
a generic Unicode font. This is the same as the CJK story: a generic
font has to compromise between the different typographical traditions,
but a font meant for Japanese can and should have Japanese-style glyphs.

Another example: Polish accents are supposed to be lower than French
accents, in fine typography, so a generic Latin font will look odd to
one nation, the other, or perhaps both.

John Cowan                         
       I am a member of a civilization. --David Brin

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