Re: Gutenberg and ligatures

From: William_J_G Overington (
Date: Sat Oct 24 2009 - 03:46:30 CDT

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    A gentleman asked by email the following question.


    Is there a term other than "ligature" to describe a matrix or piece-of-type with two-or-more non-ligature characters on them?

    end quote

    I was unaware of one, though I do not claim expert knowledge of the field.

    Maybe there is already such a word: perhaps someone who knows might post in this thread please.

    I considered that such a word would indeed be useful, so set about trying to coin one.

    How about pluglyph as an appropriate word? It would be an adjective. It would be pronounced, as if plu-glyph, with the plu- pronounced as in the word pluperfect. That is, the plu- would sound the same as if ploo- had been the spelling. The plu- having a derivation similar to that in pluperfect.

    Examples of use.

    Did Gutenberg use a pluglyph matrix for each of a number of letter pairs such as bi and pl and some others?

    The exhibition included a printed book, from either the seventeenth or eighteenth century, in which it appears that a Que pluglyph sort might have been used, as the tail of the Q went under the u and ended beneath the e.

    A new word, such as pluglyph, only becomes eligible to be included in the Oxford English Dictionary if there is significant use other than by the coiner of the word.

    William Overington

    24 October 2009

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