Re: Greek Diacritics Again

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu Nov 23 2000 - 12:38:23 EST

Lukas Pietsch wrote:

>I seem to remember I read in some Unicode document that the Greek "TONOS"
>could be realized *either* as an acute *or* as a vertical stroke. I can't
>locate the reference at the moment. Unfortunately I haven't got the book at
>hand here and I've been searching the website in vain. Is the standard
>(still) actually saying this, or is my memory failing me?

>Would it be fair to sum up the consequences of all this for font design in
>the following way: If a font is designed for use with both monotonic and
>polytonic Greek, then the "tonos" glyphs should *definitely* look like
>acutes. If a font is designed for monotonic Greek only, a font designer can
>choose to use either acutes or verticals (or any other shape, for that
>matter: decorative typefaces in Greece are apparently using all sorts of
>things from wedges to dots or squares...)

Gerry Leonidas at the University of Reading is my usual contact for matters
pertaining to Greek type and typography. He is explicit that the correct
form of the tonos is _not_ vertical: it should always lean to the right,
although usually much less than many acute accents. The vertical form was a
brief fashion in Greek graphic design following the official adoption of
monotonic, which coincided with a fashion for Greek fonts that aped Latin
modernist types (e.g. Helvetica Greek, now widely regarded as a mistake).
The vertical tonos seems to have been largely abandoned in favour of the
traditional, slanted form advocated by Gerry and his colleagues in Greece.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks |
Vancouver, BC | All empty souls tend to extreme opinion. | W.B. Yeats |

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