Re: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu May 10 2007 - 01:15:37 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S"

    Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > No it's a proven fact; if not convinced, try to guess which Latin text is
    > written by hiding the lower part or the upper part of the line.

    > The lower part is used as a visual hint for maintaining the baseline
    > alignment, the middle part contains no distinct form, but only acts on
    > blackness (is it "filled" by an extra stroke or not), and the top part
    > carries almost all the information and must contain most distinctions

    You are presuming a functional role for these characteristics that is not supported by
    studies of how we read. The fact that Latin letters have this particular arrangement of
    features does not mean that the features assume special functional roles ('maintaining
    baseline alignment'). Evidence suggests that we read by recognising the overall role
    architecture of features in letters and their relationships to each other to build word

    The fact that it is easier to decipher text when the bottom half is covered than when the
    top half is covered is an accident of the evolution of Latin letterforms, not a clue to
    how we read normal text. The arrangement of features could just as easily produce the
    opposite and equally accidental result.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    We say our understanding measures how things are,
    and likewise our perception, since that is how we
    find our way around, but in fact these do not measure.
    They are measured.   -- Aristotle, Metaphysics

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