Re: [A12n-Collab] Creating fonts for Akan language

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu Aug 07 2003 - 08:49:22 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Creating fonts for Akan language"

    At 12:27 AM 8/7/2003, wrote:

    > My desire is to create (make) a set of fonts for the Akan
    > language for Windows 2000 to begin with. I have been able to create a
    > crude version for my own use but I know that the people of Ghana would be
    > very happy to be able to install a standardized version for their own
    > use. I would also want to eventually map it to a keyboard, probably with
    > extra keys for the two Akan characters.
    > My problem is:
    > 1. How do I set out to create such a font?
    > 2. How do I use the existing character 0190/025B in such a font?
    > 3. How do I create and get the 15th character accepted in the
    > Unicode set?

    1. See
    2. Make a Unicode encoded font (TrueType or CFF OpenType). For use in
    Windows 2000 or XP or other Unicode text processing environments, you do
    not need to worry about 8-bit codepages: so long as the glyphs for these
    letters are mapped to the correct Unicode characters in the font cmap
    table, they will work. If you want to make your own keyboard layout driver
    for Akan, you can use Microsoft's new Keyboard Layout Creator:
    3. The 'open o' character is already included in the Unicode Standard. The
    uppercase letter is U+0186 and the lowercase is U+0254.

    A couple of additional comments:

    Akan is a tonal language, yes? This likely means that although the Bureau
    of Ghana languages specifies an alphabet of 22 letters there are
    circumstances in which it is necessary to indicate tones to differentiate
    otherwise identical words. For educational and lexicographical texts it may
    also be desirable to indicate nasalisation. This means that simply
    providing glyphs for the 44 upper- and lowercase letters might not be
    sufficient: you may also need dynamic mark positioning.

    Microsoft are apparently releasing a number of updates to their core font
    set with upcoming versions of Office and Windows that will include
    extensive African language support.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    The sight of James Cox from the BBC's World at One,
    interviewing Robin Oakley, CNN's man in Europe,
    surrounded by a scrum of furiously scribbling print
    journalists will stand for some time as the apogee of
    media cannibalism.
                             - Emma Brockes, at the EU summit

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