Re: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S

From: Richard Wordingham (
Date: Thu May 10 2007 - 02:52:00 CDT

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    John Hudson wrote on Thursday, May 10, 2007 7:15 AM
    Subject: Re: The glyph of the CAPITAL SHARP S

    > Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > 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
    > recognition.

    > 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.

    Interesting. The statement that one normally encounters is that when
    reading we primarily look at the top half of the text. This may, of course,
    vary from language to language. Moreover, it is quite likely that it does
    not apply to capital letters. They are more difficult to read than lower
    case. These statements are probably largely based on reading English,
    though I would expect most Western European languages to work the same.


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