Cyrillic Bold

Dan Gayle's picture

Reading up on the Cyrillic alphabet on Wikipedia, I came across this paragraph:
"A boldfaced font is called poluzhirniy shrift (‘semi-bold font’), because there existed fully-boldfaced shapes which are out of use since the beginning of the twentieth century."

Does anyone have any other information on this, or clarification? It sounds interesting to me since I once, many many moons ago, started to learn Russian. I made it as far as being able to read sentences and paragraphs, not understanding a darn thing of course, based on their simple pronunciation rules and a basic understanding of Cyrillic.

As a newly dedicated type designer, I guess it's my responsibility to understand all I can about scripts other than Latin.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

In the Soviet times Poluzhirnyi was the standard term for the companion boldface. Zhirnyi was used for ‘black’, like in zhirnyi grotesk (‘black grotesque’). That nomenclature was borrowed directly from German (German foundries dominated the Russian market in late 19th–early 20th century). The peculiar and often confusing German terminology was discussed here a number of times. In current practice and usage Russian terminology mirrors the English, so poluzhirnyi translates as ‘semi-’ or ‘demibold’.

Dan Gayle's picture

I should have noticed from the German word "schrift"...

So, they still make something called "bold" but we in English would call it "black"?

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Not anymore. Just look up the current, updated definitions of the poluzhirnyi and zhirnyi shrift.

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