Re: Why blackletter letters?

From: Richard Wordingham <>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2013 00:14:03 +0100

On Wed, 11 Sep 2013 12:57:34 +0200
Charlie Ruland ☘ <> wrote:

> Andreas,
> linguistically speaking (i.e. following the tradition that was
> started by Ferdinand de Saussure) when items are used contrastively
> they must be considered different linguistic entities on what has
> been called the “emic” level: phonemes, morphemes, graphemes, etc.

But this switching is not done at the character level, but at the word
level. To follow the linguistic comparison, this is code-switching. If
an utterance contains a mix of English and French, one doesn't normally
use one character for English /s/ and another for French /s/ in
broad phonetic transcription ('emic' level). One might choose different
fonts, or font effects, to mark which language was being used, but that
is a different matter. One might simply colour code the difference, but
that would be regarded as extravagant.

At a practical level, when writing about a computer program, I find it
useful to use a proportional font for normal text and a monospaced
text for identifiers within the program, but I wouldn't dream of
claiming that the identifiers were really written in a different script
to the plain English in the discussion.

> As /gebrochene Schrift/ and /Antiqua/ were habitually used
> contrastively there is no doubt that they are different scripts in
> that tradition, although they may be the same script in another
> tradition. This is very much like [ɛ] and [æ] being different
> linguistic entities (phonemes) in English, but not in German.

It's not so very different to using different fonts to indicate
different languages when the text is actually 'translated' for the
readers convenience, e.g. the use of an Arabic-looking font to
represent Klatchian in the Discworld novel 'Jingo'. I wouldn't suggest
that we have a different script for the Klatchian; rather, the novel is
not in plain text in these sections.

Received on Wed Sep 11 2013 - 18:17:01 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Wed Sep 11 2013 - 18:17:01 CDT