Re: U+0140

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Apr 17 2004 - 22:51:06 EDT

  • Next message: Mark Davis: "Re: U+0140"

    Michael Everson wrote:

    >> This would make the mid-dot too high. The top dot of the colon usually
    >> sits toward the top of the x-height; the *mid*-dot should sit lower,
    >> optically midway up the x-height (which means slightly higher than the
    >> actual halfway mark). The top dot of a colon is typically closer to
    >> the height of the Greek ano teleia, which aligns with the x-height
    >> (and which should align with the cap height in all-cap settings, and
    >> with the small-cap height in smallcap settings).
    > John, I just don't believe you. I don't believe that in all the history
    > of Greek and Catalan typography this careful hairsplitting has *always*
    > taken place; certainly in scientific transcription the HALF TRIANGULAR
    > COLON is just the top dot in the TRIANGULAR COLON, and in Americanist
    > transcription where the dot-colons are used instead of triangles I would
    > say the same applies.

    I never contested that the dots of a colon correspond to the triangles of the linguistic
    long vowel marker. They clearly do. What I contested was that the typographic mid-point
    (U+00B7) corresponded to the top dot of a colon. It clearly does not. It is called a
    mid-point because it sits midway up the x-height. It is used in this position for a
    variety of stylistic purposes, e.g. in place of hyphens in phone numbers in stationery,
    which is why most type designers put it at this height. I can assure you that the vast
    majority of type designers don't even know that Catalan uses a dot, let alone that it
    might use this dot.

    The obvious solution to present usage is language system typographic tagging, in which a
    distinction can be made in the size, height and spacing of the dot for Catalan and
    non-Catalan use.

    'Careful hairsplitting' always takes place when people care about typography.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    I often play against man, God says, but it is he who wants
       to lose, the idiot, and it is I who want him to win.
    And I succeed sometimes
    In making him win.
                  - Charles Peguy

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