Re: The Geejay (was: Acceptable alembic glyph variants)

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2008 - 03:08:30 CST

  • Next message: arno: "chairless hamza"

    Hello, Andreas!

    You seem to take on a pace as if the Golden Horde was chasing you! :)
    I was wondering, whether it's Unicode's task to encode every single character ever printed, even if it was created on the fly for a single project...
    (Of course, if the glyph's use can be demonstrated over several books of several different publishing houses over a nontrivial span of time, it should be; as a historic character).

    Coming back to your "compiled little consideration", while keeping my abovementioned reservations, I'd say it's definitely a caseless phonetic character (this can also clearly be seen from the examples you provide).

    While it's true, that used with other letters the shape and size may be slightly irritating to the eye (mânGer)*, however I'd like to remind you that the encoding of this character -- if at all -- is for representing historic text and not to reintroduce a new phonetic character for contemporary usage! A casing pair on this letter would be the introduction of a non-existent (not 'unencoded'!) character to Unicode.
    On the contrary! Your introduction of a casing pair would be an unprecedented case for phonetic notation! Neither IPA, nor UPA nor any other phonetic alphabet has them! (Casing pairs exist only for some letters stemming from IPA that entered official orthographies).

    Also note, that those at Langenscheid back then did not care about the aesthetic aspect of one phonetic character not matching the others. An antiqua-based ligature definitely stands out more from fraktur than a antiqua glyph with ascender and descender in an antiqua font.
    They did not chose to care about this aspect, even though they definitely had to create a new (physical) cut for that character, they chose not to go for a Fraktur-based solution to reprezent zh (it would have been none the more complicated), but created a foreign looking character: it would never show up in book text, after all, it's just a phonetic character, actually, more of a symbol, than a letter!

    I understand, that you enjoy the CHALLENGE of creating new glyphs harmonising with a font**, that's why you advocate majuscle sharp s as well, I guess, so prominently (though no criticism there from the encoding point of view! It's a well documented historic character, though even in historical context rather rarely used). Also, you did a great job on that proof-of-concept for the "minuscle geejay" from a design perspective, but it's just an experiment, without any necessity or reason to it (except for having trained, possibly improved and definitely shown your skill).

    [On your page you say]
    > Note: comments welcome. If you send a comment, please state if you
    > wish the text or image being posted on this site.

    Also I'd like to point your attention to a minor mistake. The (french) sound, the voiced postalveolar fricative represented by the "Geejay" is in IPA not transcribed by d_ezh but ezh alone! The former is the sign for the voiced postalveolar affricate, which is the (english) j/'soft' g.

    Also, it would be helpful if you identified the dictionary/edition more exactly, citing exact title, publisher, year, place of publishing as it is common (you gave the publisher and the year, but not the exact title, just it being a German-French dictionary, nor the place of publishing).

    As a closing note,
    the phonetic notation in that dictionary differenciates between antiqua and fraktur a, ä, o, ö and uses them contrastively. Would this mean (considering antiqua to be standard style today) to encode phonetic symbol PHONETIC FRAKTUR A, etc., or would it be correct to use the MATHEMATICAL FRAKTUR range? Doesn't the mathematical range have different character properties?)


    *) But is it really, considering the special use of that character?
       But is it really, if you change the G's upper arc to resemble the ascender of f or long-s (and potentially dropping the j's dot)? This would be a font design decision similar to changing the IPA's original turned f to be a dotless j with bar, or the an integral sign overstricken with = to be represented a dotless j with bar and upper hook. Also, while ezh's form was inspired by a z with tail, it was initially printed with mercantile old-style 3. Now we have an ezh design consistent with latin minuscles.
    **) All we font designers on this list do, or else we wouldn't be font designers.

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