Re: Latin chi and stretched x

From: Julian Bradfield <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 16:41:18 +0100

On 2012-06-07, Denis Jacquerye <> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 12:39 AM, Karl Pentzlin <>
> I agree, we should avoid bad typography. But isn't a Latin chi (the
> IPA Latin chi being proposed) with Greek weights instead of Latin
> weights bad typography? Probably, that glyph still doesn't blend in
> with other Latin glyphs.

Hear! Hear!
When I first got involved with the IPA thirty years ago, I wrote to
them to complain about this. Sadly they ignored me, and have since
made matters even worse by printing with plain old Greek chi.
However, one must recognize that the reversed letters in IPA may also
have the wrong weights to harmonize well, because people implement
them by literal reversal, rather than by drawing the reverse shape
with the normal weight - almost always for ɜ.
In some versions of the IPA chart, χ is printed with a
glyph that has almost equal weights on the two arms, possibly slightly
more Latin than Greek. (I can't track down the printed source; it's
almost certainly due to a careful choice of Greek font. The version
I'm thinking of is on the Web at )

Surely there is no basis for distiguishing characters solely on
the basis of weights that are an artefact of the writing device -
nobody would propose using or encoding LATIN SMALL LETTER REVERSED O,
I hope.
If Latin chi is to be distinguished from stretched x, it would have to
be on the basis of the curved end strokes - and since some chis, Latin
or otherwise, have only very subtly curved end strokes, this is a poor
basis for a distinction. Not impossible, but likely to cause
confusion, I'd have thought.

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Received on Thu Jun 07 2012 - 10:45:17 CDT

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