Re: Titles and headings in Georgian script

From: Denis Jacquerye (
Date: Wed Jul 25 2007 - 00:04:55 CDT

  • Next message: David Starner: "Re: Titles and headings in Georgian script"

    On 7/24/07, Aiet Kolkhi <> wrote:
    > Hello,
    > this is a very interesting question.
    > To put it short, this is somewhat incorrect to comprare "Mtavruli"
    > (capital) style of contemporary Georgian alphabet (Mkhedruli) to small
    > caps font style. And it is definitely wrong to look for solutions in
    > CSS and other typographical directions, as the two "styles" or scripts
    > (consider as you like) are different in shape and changing size of the
    > characters would not give us Mtavruli style from Mkedruli script, nor
    > the other way around.

    The right solution for most applications at the moment is to use a
    specific font with Mtavruli.

    > The only solution enabling users to use Georgian Mtavruli style
    > together with Georgian contemporary Mkhedruli alphabet would be to add
    > Georgian Mtavruli style range to Unicode (or to apply fonts on
    > different parts of the text, one font having Georgian Mkhedruli
    > characters in 10D0-10FF range and the other using Mtavruli style of
    > Georgian Mkedruli character in the same 10D0-10FF range).

    This solution makes sense, although it is argued against in the
    Unicode documentation stating Mtavruli is just a style variant.
    Comparing it to Smallcaps is wrong since it implies capitals, but
    capitals don't exist for Mkhedruli, also Smallcaps are oftern mixed
    with Capitals whereas Mtavruli isn't mixed with Mkhedruli. "Titling"
    is really better as John Hudson suggests.

    > Now more detailed explanation:
    > Being I believe the only Georgian member in Unicode, let me say a few
    > words about Georgian contemporary alphabet and its use. I apologize in
    > advance if the explanation is a bit too long.
    > The first Georgian alphabet known today is Georgian Asomtavruli (or
    > Mrglovani), created in Georgia before Christianity was officially
    > adopted. The earliest evidence is 1st–3rd Cent. A.D. inscriptions
    > found in Nekrisi, Eastern Georgia. Though some historical texts refer
    > to Georgian alphabet in 3rd Cent. B.C.
    > Asomtvruli has been presented since early versions of Unicode in
    > 10A0–10C5 range as unicameral script. Asomtavruli was indeed
    > unicameral (though capital) and used as the only alphabet for writing
    > Georgian before the second Georgian alphabet, Nuskhuri (Khutshuri) was
    > introduced for wide use in about 9th Cent. A.D. During the period of
    > 9th–11th Cent. A.D., both scripts were used, Asomtavruli as capitals
    > and Nuskhuri (Khutsuri) as lowercase.
    > Nuskhuri (Khutsuri) was added to Unicode in version 5 (Georgian
    > Supplement. Range: 2D00–2D2F), as lowercase to Asomtavruli range
    > (10A0–10C5). In version 5 also, Asomtavruli was changed from caseless
    > state to uppercase script for Nuskhuri (Khutsuri).
    > The contemporary Georgian (third) alphabet, called Mkhedruli, has been
    > widely used since 11 Cent A.D. and is used today. It has been a
    > unicameral script, though today's use has raised discussions among
    > linguists and experts.
    > Mkedruli has been presented in Unicode since early versions, in
    > 10D0–10FF range as unicameral script.
    > In 18 Cent. A.D. famous Georgian scientist and public figure Nikoloz
    > Tbileli created Mtavruli style of Mkdedruli alphabet. The style has
    > been used for headings, titles etc., and for short time, it was used
    > the same way uppercase is used in English, for geographical names,
    > beginning of sentence etc. though this did not last long and its use
    > remained for headings and titles.
    > At present, the use of Mtavruli style is increasing. Nearly all
    > titles, headings, subtitles are written with Mtavruli stye. Comparing
    > an English-language newspaper with Georgian one reveals that English
    > language newspaper includes only one headline in uppercase, out of ten
    > headlines on front page. Georgian newspaper uses Mtavruli style on all
    > ten headlines as well as all titles in ads placed on newspapers,
    > billboards etc.
    > The crawling news ticker on BBC News is written in lowercase, whereas
    > crawling news text on Georgian TV stations in written with Mtavruli
    > style. Also, any title, credits text or caption on Georgian TV is
    > written with Mtavruli.
    > As a result, language experts are considering creating a language
    > norm, limiting the use of Mtavruli style to only headings, to make
    > sure Mtavruli style does not replace Mkhedruli alphabet.
    > BTW, some linguists report France facing similar danger, as using all
    > caps in formal correspondence is becoming more and more frequent,
    > abolishing French accents from texts that are not used when text is
    > written in uppercase.

    Removing accents from capitals in French is a mistake, mostly due to
    faulty keyboard layouts in France and bad tradition.

    > So, to sum up my long text,
    > 1. Mtavruli style is different in shape from Mkhedruli and thus
    > comparing it to Small Caps style is incorrect. Also, small caps text
    > can be created from any latin font, using uppercase characters,
    > whereas Georgian Mtavruli style would require special font which would
    > put mtavruli style glyphs instead of Mkhedruli.

    Indeed, using CSS smallcap on Mkhedruli is useless and meaningless. No
    browser actually supports smallcaps properly. Besides smallcaps is not
    appropriate as stated earlier.

    > 2. Mtavruli style's use is increasing rapidly and is presently used on
    > virtually all headings, ad texts, captions, titles and texts on TV
    > screen.

    Inclusion in Unicode makes sense to me. Although argument against are
    also very strong.

    > 3. There is no language norm or style guide yet requiring or limiting
    > the use of Mtavruli style or Mkhedruli style in certain cases. No
    > language norm differentiates Mkhedruli from Mtavruli style.
    > 4. Georgia still has not decided about the norm or style guide of
    > using Mtavruli style.

    These would really help.

    > 5. User's requirement to be able to write texts in mkhedruli with
    > Mtavrili style has resulted in creating number of Georgian unicode
    > typefaces [1] incompatible to Unicode, since they correctly place
    > Georgian Mkhedruli characters in 10D0–10FF range, but also incorrectly
    > place Mtavruli style characters in 10A0–10C5 range (which is intended
    > for ancient Georgian Asomtavruli characters in Unicode). Fonts like
    > that are very commonly used on all operating systems and webpages and
    > default for Georgian font on almost any Linux distribution. A good
    > example is site of Georgian Parliament [2], which tries to use
    > Mtavruli style for navigation menu and has to load Georgian font
    > dynamically (which only works on Internet Explorer) and this font is
    > incompatible to Unicode in the same manner I described.

    Using the Asomtavruli codepoints for Mtavruli is deeply wrong. This
    breaks semantics.
    Instead of adding Mtavruli in the Asomtavruli spots of a font, make a
    Mtavruli variant font for systems not handling the titling feature,
    i.e. for pretty much every applications, make a Mkhedruli font with
    Mtavruli as titling for the few apps supporting it.
    By the way why aren't Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri compatible (NFKD/NFCD)
    to Mkhedruli?

    > As a result, if someone visits Parliament of Georgia website from any
    > other browser or operating system and does not happen to have
    > installed the same incompatible Georgian font on the system, he/she
    > sees Georgian Asomtavruli (obsolete) characters in site navigation
    > menu and headings :)
    > So the issue is a bit complicated.
    > I will write to you as soon as there is some progress in this regard.
    > I am sorry for the long mail.
    > Kind regards,
    > Noshre Chkhaidze (Aiet Kolkhi)
    > Georgian Localizations
    > [1] Fonts encoded in this incorrect manner include BPG Glaho, Ingiri,
    > BPG Couerier, Zuzumbo etc. and nearly all typefaces from leading
    > Georgian font vendor BPG Info-Tech -
    > and
    > [2]

    Denis Moyogo Jacquerye ---
    Nkótá ya Kongó míbalé ---
    DejaVu fonts ---
    Unicode (UTF-8)

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