Long S Diacritics?

ferfolio_2's picture

Hi Typophiles!

I'm designing a typeface in Latin Ext A, and I was wondering if there's any Unicode for the following characters:

(longs+acute) /longsacute
(longs+caron) /longscaron
(longs+cedilla) /longscedilla
(longs+circumflex) /longscircumflex
(longs+commaaccent) /longscommaaccent
(longs_i) /longs_i
(longs_l) /longs_l

I know that Long S is part of LatnExtA, that's why I want to also design the diacritics for "s" when it's long s.
Is this useful? I's it still only a Hist form or does some CE language use it?

Thank you!

George Thomas's picture

I don't find them in Unicode 6.2. I have never seen them or had a request for them. The fact that they are not needed probably has to do with the rules pertaining to Long S usage, but that's just a guess.

That doesn't prevent you from including them in your fonts if you want to do so.

John Hudson's picture

No, they're not in Unicode as precomposed characters. There are a couple of ways you could handle this.

1. If you are relying on the long-s character to differentiate this form from the regular lowercase s, than these diacritics would be best encoded using the long-s character followed by an appropriate combining mark character from the 0300 range. These combinations could then be mapped to precomposed glyphs in the font using the {ccmp} layout feature; alternatively, you could rely on GPOS mark positioning.

2. You could instead handle the long-s as a glyph variant of the regular s, invoked by e.g. the {hist} feature or a stylistic set feature. In this case, you would handle precomposed long-s diacritics in the same way.

Note that a single font could support both approaches.

[George mentioned rules for long-s use. It's tempting to try to use contextual lookups in the {hist} feature to apply these rules, but be aware that the rules are not uniform across languages or, even, time periods.]

ferfolio_2's picture

Thanks George and John! This is most helpful

Thomas Phinney's picture

Also, your first five glyph names are not AGL (or AGLFN) compliant. Better glyph naming would depend on which method you wish to use to access the glyph:

e.g. /scaron.long vs /longs_uni030C

jcrippen's picture

I have ſeen long s with dot above uſed at ſome point, but I don’t remember where. That’s the only diacritic I recall having ever ſeen used ſpecifically with long s.

If you’re ſeriouſly thinking about long s then you should read up on its uſage patterns ſo that you underſtand how it was uſed and in what contexts. Andrew Weſt’s BabelStone blog has two poſts on it: The Rules for Long S, and The Long and the Short of the Letter S. Note that the diſtribution of long s changes over time, and alſo that it’s different between languages in the same time periods.

I presume by longs_i and longs_l you are referring to ligatures with thoſe lowercase letters? Then you should alſo conſider doing a ligature with /t/ depending on the ſtyle, and poſsibly also with /b/, /k/, and /h/ depending on how ‘French’ you expect uſers to be ſetting their texts. A ligature with another long s is probably a good idea too, unleſs you are uſing a more ‘buttonhook’ ſtyle like in Linotype typefaces.

Nick Shinn's picture

The italic /ſ_t ligature is really weird the way the ascender of the t is elongated.
I mean, there is no functional reason for this ligature (i.e. to avoid a collision).
IMO it’s made to echo the quaint /s_t roman ligature.

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