Re: Ligatures in Portuguese, French (was: ... Turkish and Azeri)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Jul 12 2003 - 18:23:31 EDT

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    On Saturday, July 12, 2003 9:59 PM, Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin <> wrote:

    > On 2003.07.10, 20:34, John Cowan <> wrote:
    > > IIRC, Portuguese traditional typography also avoids the fi-ligature,
    > > even though the language has no dotless-i.
    > Just browsed some old book with that in mind and I cannot really
    > corroborate. I've even seen some other more exotic ligatures, such as
    > "st" and "ct".
    > Maybe there was such a reccomendation in some portugguese type-setting
    > manual, but its result doesn't show...

    In French typography, we also find the special ligatures for the French
    (and Roman Latin) word "et" (means "and"), using old alternate forms for
    the lowercase letter "e", looking mostly like a Greek epsilon (or the Latin
    Small Open E, still used in Tamazigh as a letter distinct from the
    standard Latin Small E).

    The resulting ligature glyph is very near from the ASCII ampersand
    character, and I just wonder if the ampersand is not a variation of this
    French or Latin ligature, which belongs to the same typographic
    traditions as the <s, t>, <c, t> and <long-s, t> ligatures (and
    probably the <long-s, s> ligature too in German's <sharp-s>).

    In French text, using the "&" character to replace a "et" word would
    seem ugly (or lazy), even today where it looks like a technical symbol
    imported from English or used in trademarks (such as the new
    France Telecom Orange logo, where it clearly uses the common
    association of this character with Internet), and called "esperluète",
    "éperluète", or commonly "et commercial".

    On the opposite, the use of the "et" ligature (which is really
    representing the French word "et" with its two letters) is quite
    common even in recent books and publications, and it looks
    pretty good typographically, notably for its titlecase version at
    at the beginning of sentences.

    There are many examples in various languages, where what was a
    typographic ligature ot two letters, became used as a separate
    letter or character in another language... Now that computers can
    generate these ligatures more easily, I think there is a renewal
    of their use and creation, probably meaning in the future more
    ligatures converted to plain letters in written languages.

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