Re: Glyphs for German quotation marks

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 14:01:17 CDT

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    Andreas Prilop wrote:

    >>>U+2018 and U+201C are *rotational* images of U+2019 and U+201D.
    >>>U+201B and U+201F are *mirrored* images of U+2019 and U+201D.

    >>Says who?

    > Look at .
    > And take a beginner's course in typography.

    Ironically, Adam is a highly respected member of the board of the Association
    Typographique Internationale.

    The simple fact is that there is considerable variety in the design of quotation marks,
    most often determined by the style of the overall typeface design, and in some cases -- at
    Adam has noted -- by particular target rendering technologies. As others have noted, the
    glyphs in the Unicode code chart are not normative, nor could they be. Typography is
    determined by typographers and type designers, not by standards committees (witness the
    euro symbol). Now, it may well be the case that some of the choices that type designers
    make in the design of quotation marks may not be desirable in a specifically German
    context. There is nothing unusual about this: it is very rare for a single typeface to
    work equally well for all languages, and following the Unicode glyph charts doesn't make
    it so. There are plenty of typefaces that I would not use to typeset German... or French,
    or Czech, or even English.

    Now, OpenType does provide a mechanism for language specific glyph variants, so it is
    entirely possible that a font might have different forms for quotation marks for different
    languages, thereby addressing your concerns. However, application support for this aspect
    of the font format has been very slow. I've seen some beta implementations, but I'm not
    aware of anything released yet.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to forget
    that words are the daughters of earth, and that things
    are the sons of heaven.  - Samuel Johnson

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