ELL: Fonts

Andrew Cunningham andrewc at MAIL.VICNET.NET.AU
Sun Sep 23 00:21:43 UTC 2001

A couple of quick notes:

Quoting Chuck Coker <chuckc at tyrell.com>:

> I can make custom fonts as I need them. I've made TrueType and
> PostScript
> fonts for Windows in the past. I ~should~ be able to recompile them for
> use
> on Macs, but I haven't tried it yet. The biggest problem is that with
> web
> pages, for example, the user has to download the proper font, install
> it,
> and ~then~ they can view the pages.

this is the inherent problem, Netscape and Microosft choose different approaches
for web fonts that could be downloaded with a web page. And Netscape 6/Mozilla
doesn't support web font technologies.

as an exercise i used a javascript routine to detect if the browser was netscape
4 or IE and insert in netscapes case a link to a dynamic font, and in IE's case
some CSS which identified an embeded open type font source.

> I haven't had much luck making fonts look as good on the monitor as
> fonts
> from Monotype, Adobe, et al, although they are still readable. However,
> they
> look very good when printed.

"hinting" is an esoteric art that i'll never master.

> I'm in the beginning stages of creating a series of cross-referenced
> web
> pages that describe fonts and the characters needed for different
> languages,
> e.g., English can use all of the ISO 8859-* characters sets, Turkish
> 8859-9,
> German 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10, etc. I am working on pages organized by
> character set (e.g., an ISO 8859-1 page) and pages organized by
> language
> (e.g., a Hualapai page). I don't know enough about the letters,
> numbers,
> punctuation, and so on for most languages to even know where to begin,
> so
> progress is going slowly as I try to find speakers of different
> languages.

this project sounds very interesting, i'm currently looking through material of
this type using it to determine web browser support for languages. I'd be
interested in seeing oyur web pages when you put them up on the web.

> Some characters are not in ~any~ character set, including Unicode. For
> example, Hualapai has a letter that looks like a Latin Capital Letter
> P
> rotated 180 degrees with a Latin Capital Letter T combined so the
> vertical
> lines are in the same place. There is a similar character in Unicode
> 3.0,
> but it's not the same as the one the Hualapai people decided they were
> going
> to use.


The question is, is The character Hualapai use a unique character? Or is it a
glyph variation?


The form usally seen in fonts, and the image in the unicode standard is based on
the gylph used in northern europe. Its common to see the same character in a
range of african langauges, but the character is a different shape. IN unicode
terms they are the same character, but different glypgs. Unicode onluy encodes
characters, not glyphs. Its possible to put a glyph avriation in a font.

So, in the Hualapai case, if the character is just a variant representation of
an existing character, its just a font design issue. If the character is,
instead, a distinct unencoded character, then there is a process for submitting
characters for inclusion into unicode.

Although its worth noting that if they deciude a character is a glyph variation
of an existing unicode character, teghy will not include it. If the glyph is a
base latin character with diacritic that does not have an existing composed form
in unicode, they will also not encode it. Such charcters should be rendered
using combining diacritics.


Andrew Cunningham
Multilingual Technical Project Officer
Accessibility and Evaluation Unit, Vicnet
State Library of Victoria,

andrewc at vicnet.net.au
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