h-circumflex for Esperanto

Jason Castle's picture

I know this has been discussed here once before. But, I just noticed that the circumflex of h-circumflex in Adobe's Minion Pro family is misplaced. It is aligned over the left stem; it should be aligned over the center of the entire letter, which means it may also need to be raised a bit, as well. As far as I know, Esperanto is the only language that uses this letter. I print Esperanto text quite frequently, and Minion Pro is the font I prefer to use. However, h-circumflex is by far the least used letter in Esperanto, so it's only while adding an OT feature to better support the language (for my own use, of course) that I happened to notice the misplaced circumflex.

I've been reading (and writing/speaking) Esperanto since I was 14, and in over 40 years of reading it, I've very rarely seen an h-circumflex designed with the accent over the stem, and when I do, it looks very strange. So, type designers, for what it's worth, please center the circumflex of h-circumflex over the entire letter. Also, in case anybody's interested, I just created a simple OT feature that supports the 2 common methods that many Esperantists use (unfortunately!) to type the Esperanto accented letters (Ĉ Ĝ Ĥ Ĵ Ŝ Ŭ ĉ ĝ ĥ ĵ ŝ ŭ) when they don't have direct access to those characters: the x-method (Cx Gx ... cx gx ...) and the h-method (Ch Gh ... ch gh). For my own purposes, I've also created a keyboard layout (for Mac OS) that allows me to access those characters via option+letter.

Igor Freiberger's picture

While I was doing the survey to my font, I took notes about many unusual characters –unhappily, not to all them. My sources are many sites about linguistics, Wikipedia, proposals presented to Unicode Consortium and also articles about minorities and their cultures.

Yes, I'd put dieresis above ḧ ascender. It would become very tight at the top of n-like curve.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Especially in heavier or more condensed fonts.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

One addition to an ancient discussion: If your ascenders are taller than the cap-height, ascending letters with accents may benefit from being lowered to align with the caps.

quadibloc's picture

I agree that Adobe's choice of putting the accent over the ascender is unfortunate.

But in common with accents over ordinary lower-case letters without ascenders, at least there is not a large amount of empty space under the accent.

Which leads me to ask why no one has mentioned a third possibility for h-circumflex in this thread; is it so obviously bad that it is clearly to be excluded from consideration - or is it in violation of a basic principle that accents must be outside the letter shape?

That is, the accent is clearly not outside the letter shape - but is there a rule that it must be?

Michel Boyer's picture

It is not my intention to propose this as a model but since there appears to be no specification of what Esperanto is expecting, we may simply make a little experience with the type of equipment that was available when the alphabet came out, namely typewriters. When I started typing, typewriters were mechanical and we would first type the accent, the carriage would not move, and then we would type the letter. That way we could get an eacute by first typing the acute and then the letter e.

There is still an "old" Selectric typewriter in a locked room in my department (and it is still used once in a while, I am told). I just made the experiment, typing a circumflex and then the letter h. Here is the result


Without a spec, I presume that this is roughly what the first esperantists were expecting to get as an h with a circumflex.

Added: it seems that this was also acceptable in printing since the 1905 edition of Fundamento de esperanto contains the following specimens (page 27)


where the last occurrence is the name of the letter as printed in the text.

quadibloc's picture

Looking at the other thread, I see you beat me to the suggestion I made! And, of course, we were both beaten in 1905 - although the other forms were also used then.

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