Re: Why Fraktur is irrelevant (was RE: Fraktur Legibility (was Re: Response to Everson Phoenician)

From: Christopher Fynn (
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 08:42:02 CDT

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    Dean Snyder wrote:

    >Peter Constable wrote at 10:42 AM on Tuesday, May 25, 2004:
    >>Let's say that you have adequately demonstrated that Fraktur text is not
    >>legible to most Latin speakers. (This can be disputed since there is
    >>some measure of legibility -- all of your subjects did recognize some
    >>portions of the text. But I'll assume it's demonstrated.) All that this
    >>demonstrates is that *glyphs* may not be recognizable. It does not
    >>demonstrate that characters are distinct. For *any* script, one can
    >>create glyphs that the average user of the script will find illegible.
    >>I've seen Thai typefaces that I certainly had difficulty reading, but
    >>that does not mean that the characters are not Thai. The point is that
    >>*some* people can read such text, and they recognize those characters as
    >>Thai, or Latin in the case of Fraktur.
    >This, in fact, is an important reason why I chose to use a set of glyphs
    >published as representative glyphs in the Unicode Standard; I did not go
    >out fishing for some obscure font.

    Glyphs shapes in the Unicode Standard are not considered normative
    (though they may be for mathematical typesetting [?]) - and do not
    necessarily represent their most readable form. Compare:

     Fraktur comes from a Latin word meaning broken / fractured - it is not
    surprising that "broken" letters are difficult to read.

    Fraktur and other Blackletter type faces were originally based on
    elaborate calligraphy - and some elaborate calligraphic forms of many
    scripts can be difficult to read - but this doesn't make them separate
    scripts in the sense of that word used by iso10646 and Unicode.
    - Chris

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