Re: gamma as a phonetic symbol

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Sep 27 2008 - 14:54:35 CDT

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    Even some Latin letters require particular glyph forms to be appropriate
    for use in IPA, so certainly one can expect some Greek letters to
    require special forms. We regularly get asked to provide both roman and
    italic IPA fonts, and in the latter we need to provide IPA-specific
    forms of the lowercase a and f that differ from the norms of italic
    typography as derived from the cursive manuscript hand. IPA
    distinguishes semantically between double- and single-storey a, and
    between the descending hooked f and the baseline-terminating f. In
    regular typography, these distinctions are purely stylish. Since the
    single-storey a and hooked f are typical italic forms, these need to be
    overridden in italic IPA style and replaced by double-storey a and
    baseline-terminating f.

    Recently, we've been asked to make fonts that support both regular
    typography and IPA, and to that end arranged with Microsoft to register
    the OpenType 'language system' tag <IPPH> for IPA. This allows
    pseudo-locale glyph substitution for IPA, although currently limited to
    environments that enable hard-coding of OT tags in markup.

    These kinds of mechanisms can also be used for Greek characters that
    need to assume more Latin-like proportions, ductus and stroke terminals
    (serifs) in IPA contexts.

    John Hudson

    PS. Note that the OT term 'language system' is a misnomer, since what
    these tags actually indicate is a particular set of typographic
    conventions that may or may not map cleanly to an individual language.

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    You can't build a healthy democracy with people
    who believe in little green men from Venus.
                        -- Arthur C. Clark

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