Drop caps in non latin alphabeths?

berga83's picture

Hi everybody, I have a document with some paragraphs starting with drop caps that needs to be translated in various non latin alphabeths. I can imagine that drop caps don't have any sense in arabic since all letters are tied together, but would it make any sense in Greek?

Reed Reibstein's picture

Greek seems to have at least a historical basis for drop caps: See Aldus and Estienne.

Reed Reibstein's picture

The newspaper Al-Shabiba of Oman uses drop caps on its features page, but perhaps it's not common practice.

berga83's picture

thank you very much, really helpful info that confirms what i thought. i will stick to drop caps in greek but don't think i will use them in arabic, i think it would look strange to detach letters that have to be attached.

Reed Reibstein's picture

Glad to help. I'm not a native Arabic, but Arabic letters do have a normal form in which they are not attached to other letters (called isolated). So it's certainly possible that it's not usual in the Arabic-reading world, but it's not entirely an imposition. (Certainly not like italicizing Arabic!)

riccard0's picture

don't think i will use [drop caps] in arabic, i think it would look strange

As far as I know, Arabic allows very decorative typography (the limits reside more on the software side. For example, you will need the Middle-East version of InDesign to properly set a text in Arabic).
You could want to ask in a more specialised place:
http://typophile.com/forum/366

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