Re: ogonek vs. retroflex hook

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Apr 02 2003 - 11:32:51 EST

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    At 07:55 PM 4/1/2003, wrote:

    >Is there a typographic difference between a or i with ogonek versus a or i
    >with retroflex hook? If I'm looking at a sample, what are the
    >distinguishing characteristics that I can use to determine whether I'm
    >seeing an ogonek or a retroflex hook?

    The normative form of a retroflex hook is a straight descending stroke with
    a hook to the right; the straight descending portion typically forms an
    extension of the main vertical stem of a letter, replacing any serifs that
    might normally occur at the base of that stem (see, for example, the d with
    retroflex hook, U+0256. Although I do not recall seeing any examples of a
    or i with retroflex hook, I know how I would draw them, based on the model
    established by d and other letters. I would replace the normal termination
    of the main vertical stem of each letter, and attach the retroflex hook as
    a straight continuation of this stem (the i with retroflex hook would end
    up looking something like a reversed j).

    This is quite different from the ogonek, which is a curved form throughout
    with no straight ascender. The ogonek does not typically replace serif
    terminations, but attaches to the existing lettershape either as an
    appendage (E, I, i, O, o, U) or as a reversed stroke coming back off the
    terminal of a letter (a, e, u). The only exception is in the uppercase A,
    in which the ogonek may replace the *inside* serif of the lower right
    termination. For more information see

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

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