RE: Latin w/ diacritics (was Re: benefits of unicode)

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Tue May 22 2001 - 04:36:58 EDT

11 Digit Boy wrote:
> And look me in the eye and tell me it is not a great trick
> for Kanji. I mean, how many times are you going to keep
> making that water radical?

This has been debated a lot of times. There were two separate stories about

The first one was whether ideograph components ("radicals") could be used to
*encode* CJK text. Someone says yes, some one says no, someone says yes in
theory but it's not worth doing.

The other discussion was whether and how, within a CJK *font*, one could
draw only the "radicals" and then combine these basic glyphs to build
compound ideographs.

People who have no experience in drawing CJK fonts (and I am one of them)
argued similarly to the above argument: it's possible; it's not possible;
it's possible but not useful.

People who know how CJK fonts are actually designed mostly preferred to
remain silent. However, the few people that "sung" explained that such a
"composition" method is actually used in the making of some Far East fonts.

But there also was evidence of the opposite practice. In many cases, it
seems, CJK fonts are not "drawn" at all but, rather, *written*. The
traditional method of producing a font is hiring a master calligrapher, who
traces each single ideograph with a big brush, on big sheets of paper. Then,
each sheet of paper is photographed and reproduced in the desired size.

The consistency in size and style throughout the font in ensured solely by
the great skill of the master, who is able to maintain the same "hand" for
all the time needed to draw the font.

_ Marco

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