Greek characters in IPA usage

From: Andreas Sttzner (
Date: Tue Aug 11 2009 - 15:15:42 CDT

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    There seems to be repeated confusion about Greek minuscules beta and
    theta when it comes to their usage in phonetic context (IPA). Whereas a
    “Latin alpha” has been granted its separat codepoint at 0251 the β and
    θ have to be represented based on the common Greek codepoints 03B2 and
    03B8 even in IPA environments. For those two characters (as for the
    ‘alpha’ 0251) a proprietary ‘latinised’ glyph tradition exists in
    phonetics, requiring a distinct Latin-style glyph moulding opposite to
    the more traditional Greek-style moulding. Being merely a matter of
    style at the first glance this becomes a troublesome issue for font
    developers who are confronted with a demand to provide IPA-styled beta
    and theta and yet want to maintain the typographic integrity of the
    Greek range in their font(s).

    This is what has been considered so far to solve the problem:
    – using glyph variants and features (applies to Opentype format only,
    interoperability unsafe);
    – using PUA codepoints (bad practice, interoperability restricted and
    – urging phonetists to accept the Greek glyphs as they are (does not
    work with every typeface);
    – leave the phonies in their typographic ghetto and thus keeping IPA
    text matters incompatible to the rest of the world (which seems absurd
    to me);
    – to seperately encode LATIN SMALL LETTER BETA and LATIN LETTER SMALL
    THETA which would font producers allow to get rid of the trouble and
    IPAists to have their will …

    – What are you suggesting?

    A. St.


    Andreas Stötzner Signographie
    Signographisches Institut Andreas Stötzner i.A. (Pegau/Sa.) Tel. +49-34296-74849 Fax +49-34296-74815
    Willkommen auf

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