RE: Unicode Cyrillic GHE DE PE TE in Serbian

Date: Wed Jan 05 2000 - 08:02:11 EST

Janko Stamenovic wrote:
>At the end why I tried to propose differnt characters [for Russian and
>"t"]: because I considered that the problem will be "solved" easier.
>Serbians are not even happy with the notion that Cyrillic A and Latin A are
>different characters -- in our language they aren't.

Janko, how can you ask, in the *same* e-mail, that Serbian-Cyrillic and
Russian-Cyrillic are dis-unified (because some lowercase letters look
different in italic) *and* that the whole Cyrillic and Latin alphabets be
unified (because some letters look the same)?

OK: the Greek, Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are definitely historically
related, they have a common typographic tradition, their modern forms look
very similar, and some letters even are identical.

So, philosophically speaking, if similar-looking Chinese, Japanese and
Korean ideographs have been unified in the "Unicode CJK Unified Ideographs",
then also dimilar-looking Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic letters could be
unified in an "Unicode European Unified Letters".

But, then, can you imagine the burden? Not only the "unified lowecase
Cyrillic t" would still have its multiple italic forms, but uppercase
letters like B, H, K, M, T would have multiple lowercase equivalents
according to their being interpreted as Latin or Cyrillic. So, "PECTOPAH"
would happily be lowercased as "pectopah", unless the text is properly

About the problem of Russian vs. Serbian italics, that is not different from
many other national glyph variations that occur for many languages and
scripts. The general solution is easy and has already been mentioned:

        Serbian should be displayed with Serbian-specific fonts!

This is true for many (most) other languages and scripts. However, this only
solves the main problem (properly displaying one's "main" language), but
leaves open some other facets, that are a problem in some circumstances,

* Using multiple languages. If you speak Russian (or I speak Polish), our
Serbian (or Italian) fonts would display our favorite foreign language in an
odd way. This may not be a big problem for ourself (we are used to the local
shape of letters anyway), but becomes a problem when we want, e.g., to print
a document to be sent abroad.

* Selling fonts. If you are a font vendor, you probably don't want to limit
your market to a single country, and you can't afford the burden to maintain
multiple national versions. And, as an user, you don't want to waste your
hard disk space to install multiple version of the same font that only
change in the shape of a couple of letters.

These secondary issues (relatively "secondary", that is!) are those that are
addressed with language tags in text, and language-specific glyph variants
in fonts.

_ Marco

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:57 EDT