Phonetic symbols in Calibri and Cambria

Jongseong's picture

John Wells's Phonetic Blog has a new post about the design of phonetic symbols in Calibri and Cambria. John Wells is a British phonetician and editor of the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary.

Here is what he has to say:
Calibri (like the font most of you will see in this blog) has a small cap i without the serifs it really needs for good legibility. It also has too much space before the stress mark, after the ɡ and after the length mark. In Cambria the serifs and stress mark are satisfactory, but the character spacing in the word ɡɑːdn̩ still leaves a lot to be desired.

The 'small cap i' is actually ɪ, the phonetic symbol for the vowel of 'kit'. I have to agree that even in a sans serif design where neither I nor the small cap i have serifs, this phonetic symbol needs serifs as they are an integral part of the symbol's identity. Lucida Sans Unicode is an example where the capital I has no serifs but the symbol ɪ does. Without serifs, I have trouble reading it as anything other than the Turkish dotless i.

Based on the samples on the blog, the spacing does look problematic and I agree with his assessments. I don't know how much of this is the inherent spacing and how much is the rendering and software used with possibly limited kerning support.

If you have any insights to share about the designs from the perspective of type designers to an audience of phoneticians, I would encourage you to comment on the blog itself, and we could also have a Typophile-specific discussion here.

Si_Daniels's picture

Will log a bug against Calibri. Can't repro the spacing of Cambria. Will investigate.

Thanks, Si

John Hudson's picture

The spacing problems seem to be a result of rounding errors in Wells’ rendering environment. This is how the spacing appears in GDI under Vista:

[Note that the below combining mark touches the bottom of the letter at some sizes. Correcting this would require size-specific adjustment of GPOS mark positioning data. This can be done in VOLT, but it is a major amount of work.]

John Hudson's picture

And Calibri:

I quite agree regarding the phonetic smallcap ɪ. [Actually, I lean more and more to the view that the I in sans serif fonts, especially screen fonts, should have bars top and bottom to aid legibility. These should not be thought of as serifs: the I with barred terminals is a well-attested, indeed common form in writing.]

johndberry's picture

Actually, I lean more and more to the view that the I in sans serif fonts, especially screen fonts, should have bars top and bottom to aid legibility. These should not be thought of as serifs: the I with barred terminals is a well-attested, indeed common form in writing.

You'd get quite a bit of resistance to that, John, from users of sans serif typefaces, many of whom find the barred I quite ugly in an otherwise simple-looking design. I think it depends on which is more important in a particular context: character distinction or smooth flow. Within familiar words, the bar-less I is often a much more pleasing form (depending, always, on the typeface's overall design), but where letters and numbers and perhaps symbols will be mixed together (as in UK and Canadian postal codes, or in serial numbers and similar codes), then the need to be absolutely sure whether that's an I, an l, or a 1 trumps beauty.

I think that if you include both forms in a font, the barred I will usually need to sit in a wider space than the bar-less I. Otherwise, one of them will look wrong.

John

John Hudson's picture

John, I agree that the barred I looks less clean and in all-caps words it tends to disrupt spacing. I'm thinking mainly in terms of screen legibility. Of course, with OTL we could contextually vary the form of the I based on proximity to l or 1. :)

My main point is that a barred I is not a serif’d I, so while there may be aesthetic and functional objections to its use in sans serif fonts there shouldn't be any categorical objection.

Si_Daniels's picture

>I agree that the barred I looks less clean and in all-caps words it tends to disrupt spacing.

I-k-ea what you're saying ;-)

riccard0's picture

About the "barred" I, I find interesting the specific use of it developed in a specialised context such as comic book lettering:
http://www.blambot.com/grammar.shtml

Sylph's picture

It seems that Calibri lacks 203F: UNDERTIE symbol. Possibly Cambria does too.

Si_Daniels's picture

Doesn't look like that code-point in any of the usual suspects. How/where is it used?

Cheers, Si

Michel Boyer's picture

This wikipedia article on French liaison is filled with them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liaison_(French)

Sylph's picture

And also the above mentioned Longman Pronunciation Dictionary.

Si_Daniels's picture

Thanks, adding it to the "list".

Cheers, Si

Jongseong's picture

I second the request for the undertie symbol. 2040: CHARACTER TIE would also be welcome (it's the same shape, only flipped and higher up). When I'm working on Google Docs or posting comments online and want to use the undertie symbol, I'm forced to use the underscore as a hack because of the lack of font support.

I use the undertie primarily for pronunciation transcriptions of English (for optional compression of syllables, just like the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary) and French (for liaison).

If the tie symbols do end up being added to Calibri and Cambria, I hope they are not designed too wide. In most fonts that do have the tie symbols, they are excessively wide, perhaps because out of ignorance of what the tie symbols are used for, designers have simply used the shape for the ligature ties (which need to be wide because they go over two letters) without modification.

It won't do to have an undertie taking up the space of two letters. It would draw way too much attention to itself. The undertie needs to be comparable in width with a single space or a period. To illustrate how narrow the undertie should be, here is a screen grab from the CD-ROM version of the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary:

Jongseong's picture

Regarding a point raised earlier in the thread, I discovered a while ago that there are situations where the bars of the phonetic symbol ɪ are indispensable even in a sans design.

Phoneticians don't always use unmodified phonetic symbols, but sometimes combine them with diacritics that are also part of the IPA. This is especially important for narrow transcriptions.

I was exploring ways to express sound variations in different accents of English with shorthand symbols in a way consistent with IPA, and one of the best ways I could come up with for one instance was to use the IPA centralization diacritic, the diaeresis, with the phonetic symbols /i/ and /ɪ/, to produce /ï/ and /ɪ̈/ respectively (doesn't seem to display properly, but image below). However, this pair would not be distinguishable if ɪ lacked the bars.

You can also see that Wikipedia uses ɪ with a diaeresis on its vowel chart, because there is no dedicated unmodified phonetic symbol for that particular vowel. So this sort of combination with diacritics isn't entirely rare.

jcrippen's picture

One other annoying thing in phonetics is the esh symbol ʃ. This is a particular pain for good overtie and undertie implementations, since the most pedantic representation in IPA of the initial sound in ‘church’ is t͡ʃ or t͜ʃ.

I also somewhat dislike the ʃ design in most fonts that have it, including Cambria which is otherwise my primary face in my documents. The ʃ is always treated as though it’s a cousin to the integral sign ∫, so that it has either a perfectly upright stem or a slightly forward-tilted stem. This is wrong, however. Instead the esh ʃ is more of a cousin to s and S. The versions in fonts designed for linguists, like Gentium and Doulos SIL, have a slight backward tilt to the stem with a bit more compensatory curl in the top and bottom arms. This enhances the S similarity and also makes it less troublesome for kerning and getting the advance width right. The associated symbols like ʄ, ʆ, ʅ, ᶋ, ᶘ, and ᶴ all benefit from the same design considerations. The esh ʃ also has some problems with superscript-level spacing modifiers like ʼ (U+02BC), so that the symbol for the ejective postalveolar affricate tʃʼ (or t͜ʃʼ or t͡ʃʼ if you’re especially picky) ends up having ʼ collide with the upper arm of ʃ in most faces I’ve seen.

In context the difference between dotless ı and small-cap ɪ is not terribly important because the two are basically mutually exclusive. A lot of linguists don’t really know or care that there is a difference. Diacritics can cause problems because the dotless ı is then the same as regular i since the tittle is normally deleted in phonetics use.

Cambria really does a great job on a lot of Latin diacritics, which is why it’s my main font. I particularly like that ḵ and x̱ have the same consistent height for U+0331, for example. Also Cambria’s Greek blends well with the Latin, which is essential for replicating old transcriptions like dùhίdιnάx̣ and xʼύxʼu-ɢa. But for phonetics I use Charis SIL as a companion font, it has about the same weight and when set off in brackets or slashes it doesn’t look out of place in a sea of Cambria.

I’ve never used Calibri extensively simply because it gets the position of U+0331 wrong in comparison with the precomposed forms, so that the macron below is higher beneath ḵ than it is beneath x̱. That makes the Tlingit word tuḵx̱ʼé ‘anus’ look crappy.

Michel Boyer's picture

The ʃ is always treated as though it’s a cousin to the integral sign ∫, so that it has either a perfectly upright stem or a slightly forward-tilted stem.

Well, the integral sign is a cousin of the S, it stands for a limit of sums, and its shape in the Russian mathematical typography shows it, as you can see in the Wiki on the Integral Symbol of which here is a grab [12K]

Jongseong's picture

The integral sign has more freedom in its shape since it doesn't have the constraints of the phonetic esh symbol. The latter has to work as a phonetic symbol alongside the lowercase latin letters and similar symbols that make up the various phonetic alphabets, and in addition it can have diacritics.

Many of the diacritics used in the IPA go below the letter they modify. If the letter has a descender, the same diacritic is used above the letter. So the 'ring below' diacritic for devoicing normally goes below the letter as in 'd̥', but it goes above the letter as in 'ɡ̊'. But the esh symbol has both a descender and an ascender, so it's tricky what to do with such diacritics (the 'ring below' wouldn't make sense since the esh stands for a sound which is already voiceless, but we could combine it with a 'caron below' for voicing). One solution I've seen puts the diacritic as a sort of a spacing modifier after the esh symbol, not under it. The trouble is that some of these diacritics are only encoded as combining diacritics in Unicode and not as spacing modifiers, so you have to cheat by combining the diacritic with a space.

Michel Boyer's picture

If the letter has a descender, the same diacritic is used above the letter.

In this entry of James' Tlingit dictionary, I see the diacritics below the g.

Jongseong's picture

Putting the diacritics above letters with descenders is a convention, but not a rigid one, and I don't think it applies to all diacritics equally. The underscore diacritic would only look natural below a letter, for example.

jcrippen's picture

I tried to convince some of the orthographic community to accept ḡ in place of g̱ and the response ranged between “meh” and “are you also planning to eat kittens and immolate our infants for Moloch the vast stone god of war?”. So, not really a great reception. It is also hard to get existing software to believe that G̱ could be an uppercase pairing with ḡ. The ǥ (U+01E5 ‘Latin Small Letter G with Stroke’) is a potential option to avoid g̱ since most handwritten forms of g̱ actually have the macron crossing the descender. But ǥ case pairs with Ǥ (U+01E4) which is distinctly unsatisfactory, and some fonts have the stroke of ǥ crossing the stem into the bowl rather than across the descender. One attempt by Keri Edwards was to use G̱ and ɢ̱ so the lowercase was actually ɢ (U+0262 ‘Latin Letter Small Capital G’) with the U+0331 ‘Combining Macron Below’ diacritic, but that also breaks case pairing and is unpleasant to some people. So Tlingit in the end has stuck with g̱. It works pretty well in a lot of fonts, particularly with whatever the defaults are on Facebook in most browsers, and also in a few of the free email websites. As you can see here, when web designers try to be smart about font-face selection they usually end up with g̱ being broken somehow.

But that situation is an orthography and not phonetic transcription. In phonetic transcription you either go with what the IPA has recommended, which is above with descenders like ɡ̊, or you do whatever you want because your particular transcription tradition has no fixed rules.

And yes, the integral sign is in practice a completely different animal from esh ʃ. The esh has to blend in with the rest of the Latin-ish letters. It also has to have good default spacing and kerning because phonetic symbols aren’t handled with a fancy layout engine like those used for mathematics. For phonetics the esh should ideally have a shape similar to the Russian integral example posted above because that harmonizes well with the rest of the Latin letters in running text.

Michel Boyer's picture

I agree that math fonts and text fonts have different requirements. As for integral signs, here is one that slants backwards (taken from Landau et Lifchitz, Mécanique (Mechanics), Moscow).


(the bar at the left comes from an absolute value, and I kept it to make sure everything is vertically aligned).

Khaled Hosny's picture

Very nice integral Michel :) one day I'll added Russian-like integral to XITS math font. It already has upright integrals (inherited from STIX) as alternate.

jcrippen's picture

Two things on my wish list for phonetics fonts are slashed zero instead of a slashed circle for ∅ U+2205 ‘Empty Set’ and a gelded question mark alternate for ʔ U+0294 ‘Latin Letter Glottal Stop’.

The first wish is because slashed zero is a far more common null symbol in linguistics than the mathematical practice of a slashed circle (which comes from Nicholas Bourbaki as I recall). It’s available as an alternate for U+0030 ‘Digit Zero’ in many fonts (the OpenType zero option), but as far as I know it’s never been implemented in any font as an alternate for ∅ U+2205 ‘Empty Set’. Currently I use some TeX shenanigans to get the displayed form as 0 in PDF, but the plain text version in the PDF as ∅ so that it’s semantically correct for text processing. That’s an ugly kludge. Many (most?) linguists are less typographically and technically inclined than I am and hence they abuse Ø or ø because these look somewhat better in text than the slashed circle of ∅ found in most typefaces nowadays. Cambria tried hard to get away from the geometric circle with its ‘slashed ovoid’, but I think in the end it has pleased nobody. (I like it, but I still prefer the slashed zero more. A few mathematicians I’ve talked to still prefer the circle more.)

The gelded question mark hearkens back to the original development of the glottal stop symbol. I don’t know who first invented it, but after ʼ was used for a while someone wanted a more visually obvious symbol so they started using a question mark without the ball (hence ‘gelded’). The IPA community invented the form with a stem extending to the baseline and a serifed base, but the gelded form is still in use, though mostly only in handwriting nowadays. To properly replicate forms from older documents a gelded alternate for ʔ U+0294 ‘Latin Letter Glottal Stop’ is really appropriate, but so far I know of no fonts that have implemented it. I supposed that variants of ʕ, ʖ, ʡ, and ʢ might be desirable too, but I think just offering the alternate for ʔ would be a good enough gesture. Anyone implementing a modern face like the Scotch Modern used by the US Government Printing Office would be obliged to make the default glottal stop a gelded question mark for historical veracity.

One thing that I like about the SIL fonts (Charis SIL & Doulos SIL) and Gentium that I haven’t seen much support for elsewhere are the slightly larger and heavier variants of the apostrophic modifier letters, U+02BB – U+02BD and U+02EE. Most fonts simply duplicate the shapes of the quotation marks, but the modifier letters are properly alphabetic letters rather than punctuation. If they are ever so slightly distinct then they are more easily differentiated at the end of quotations, e.g. ‘xʼúxʼ’ or “xʼúxʼ”. One solution, used by Gentium, is to shift the vertical position and change the overall size of the modifier letters a slight bit. The SIL fonts instead change the weight and length of the modifier letters so that they fill the surrounding space a bit more and thus fit better into the word shape (bouma). On this forum the differentiation seems to be an accident since Georgia doesn’t include the spacing modifier letters, so that they are pulled from some other font by browser and layout engine magic.

hrant's picture

I love seeing "bouma" in a thread I wasn't in!
As you were.

hhp

Michel Boyer's picture

Here are, side by side, a zero and an empty set ($\emptyset$) in the Computer Modern font (the default in TeX and LaTeX).


Thus the Computer Modern \emptyset is not quite a slashed zero. I don't like it, instead I use \varnothing given by the amssymb package that gives me the slashed circle. On the other hand, using the slashed circle for a linguistics null symbol looks inappropriate. In any case, shouldn't linguists have their own symbol?

charles ellertson's picture

One thing that I like about the SIL fonts (Charis SIL & Doulos SIL) and Gentium that I haven’t seen much support for elsewhere are the slightly larger and heavier variants of the apostrophic modifier letters, U+02BB – U+02BD and U+02EE. Most fonts simply duplicate the shapes of the quotation marks, but the modifier letters are properly alphabetic letters rather than punctuation.

Best I can remember, these are raised and turned commas. In a number of fonts today, the apostrophe is smaller than a comma; in these cases anyway, making them larger (as in a raised or turned comma) just makes sense.

As a typesetter, one problem I always encounter is whether to use the proper Unicode characters, U+02BB & U+02BD, or U+2018 & U+2019 (single open & close quotes). The reason is ebooks are getting to where they are almost always made with university press books, and the spacing modifiers are absent in most fonts. iPAD & Kindle won't display them; and in spite of the EPUB3 specification, Apple's big concern seems to destroying flash. No worry about small things like having the right characters, or allowing embedding fonts.

The other reason is interior designers never check to see if proper characters are in the fonts they choose, so if the EULA forbids it, you can't even make up the correct character for the print edition. Or you take it from another font, which takes time, money, and hand-fitting every occurrence. Not likely.

These gripes are pedestrian compared to what is being discussed, but it is an issue once you get beyond the manuscript.

jcrippen's picture

[Michel Boyer:] On the other hand, using the slashed circle for a linguistics null symbol looks inappropriate. In any case, shouldn't linguists have their own symbol?

Semantically the linguistic null symbol is the same as the mathematical empty set. Both are used to mean ‘nothing’ or something similar. But typographically they are very much distinct. From a Unicode perspective this means that the two are to be identified as the same character, and hence the problem is left to font design. It’s similar to the language-specific issues regarding letters like italic U+0442 ‘Cyrillic Small Letter Te’ in Serbian versus other Cyrillic, or whether a dollar sign should have one vertical bar or two. In these sorts of cases the meaning of the symbol is the same, it’s just the shape that differs. But where OpenType provides contextual indicators of languages, there is no such indication for scientific disciplines. I’m not suggesting that such things are necessary, just that the parallel between the two situations breaks down there.

Linguists do generally prefer TeX’s default $\emptyset$, and mathematicians generally seem to like $\varnothing. (La)TeX makes this distinction explicitly available, but Unicode does not. I actually side with Unicode on this, though obviously I bemoan the lack of differentiation outside of the TeXosphere.

[charles_e:] As a typesetter, one problem I always encounter is whether to use the proper Unicode characters, U+02BB & U+02BD, or U+2018 & U+2019 (single open & close quotes).

The difference between the modifier letters (U+02BB – U+02BD and U+02EE) versus the open and close quotes (U+2018 & U+2019) is not really in their appearance. Instead, the modifier letters in Unicode belong to the Lm (Modifier_Letter) category and hence they are meant to be processed like alphabetic characters (A–Z, etc.). That means that they are part of the language’s alphabet rather than being accessory symbols like punctuation. In contrast, U+2018 and U+2019 are in the Pi and Pf categories respectively (Initial_Punctuation and Final_Punctuation). They are punctuation characters just like the ampersand, hyphen, question mark, octothorpe, and so forth.

This distinction between modifier letter and punctuation is crucial but largely invisible. The modifier letters should be treated just like any other letter in the language’s alphabet. So if a modifier letter is part of a digraph then it shouldn’t be divided for hyphenation, for the same reason that you wouldn’t divide ch as c-h in English. It’d be equally wrong to divide Tlingit’s tsʼ as ts-ʼ. Although the idea of hyphenating a quotation mark seems strange, there are other contexts where the difference is important. In American-style punctuation practice it’s possible to reorder the punctuation symbols at the end of a quotation, so that commas and periods should be shifted to the left of a quotation mark: ‘... foo’, he said should become ‘... foo,’ he said. For modifier letters this rearrangement is absolutely prohibited: ... tʼoochʼ, yéi yaawaḵaa should never ever become ... tʼooch yéi yaawaḵaa because that latter form is nonsense in Tlingit. Modifier letters are simply not punctuation, and should never be confused with punctuation. They are instead inherent parts of a letter or word, just like all the other alphabetic characters. (Your mileage may vary regarding apostrophes in English and French used to mark elision of letters, or English’s possessive suffix -’s.)

Now, most linguists don’t make this distinction in Unicode because they don’t know about it. Or rather, they don’t know that they know – they have an implicit understanding of the distinction but don’t realize that Unicode actually puts this distinction into practice. Nearly every linguist I’ve ever met is ignorant of Unicode’s fine structure, they are only concerned with “is there a character in the ‘symbols’ dialog box that looks like what I want?”. So it’s the typesetter’s job to figure out from the submitted typescript that there should be a distinction between one kind of apostrophe symbol used for punctuation and another kind of apostrophe symbol used alphabetically. Often this is obvious, but sometimes you have to ask. The simplest question to ask the author is whether a particular apostrophe is part of a letter or word, or whether it’s just punctuation like in English. You may get back an essay on ejectives or glottal stops or something, or you may get a nastygram saying “it’s there for a reason, don’t change it, dammit”, but in either case you’ll get feedback which is better than mangling the results and being chewed out later.

Michel Boyer's picture

[jcrippen] Semantically the linguistic null symbol is the same as the mathematical empty set. Both are used to mean ‘nothing’ or something similar.

The empty set is not nothing. It is the set {}, the set that contains no element. In particular, there is a unique function from the empty set to the empty set: that is the function whose graph is the empty set. That gives a combinatorial "proof" that zero to the power zero is equal to 1 (after a little set theory).

jcrippen's picture

Well yes, to be precise it is the set of nothing. And since linguistics is founded partly on set theory, the linguistic zero usually means the same thing. So if you have a set of morphemes {-p, -t, -k, and -q} that occur in a paradigm, you can also analyze the set as including an empty set. That’s because by definition the empty set exists in any set, including the empty set itself. This empty set can then considered to be an empty morpheme, -∅. Or you may instead want to define the empty morpheme as an element distinct from the empty set, depending on your theory of morphology. In that case the other morphemes are made of elements taken from the set of all possible sounds in the language, and the null morpheme is the empty set that is included in that set of all sounds. That leaves a distinction between a zero morpheme and a lack of a morpheme, which is important in some morphological theories.

So linguistic nulls are the nothings of a category, just like mathematical nulls; indeed, they are mathematical nulls because linguistic analysis is just another application of mathematics. But all of this is pedantic from a typographic and character set standpoint. The basic issue for typographers is that they’re represented by the same character, though not necessarily with the same presentation form (font variant, etc.).

Michel Boyer's picture

The empty set is a subset of {-p, -t, -k, -q}, it is not an element of that set. The empty set ∅ contains no element. The set {∅} contains one element and in the Von Neumann notation for integers, it represents the integer 1. Similarly, the set {∅, {∅}} represents 2 etc. With the word "contains" you keep a dangerous ambiguity: is it an element? is it a subset? You cannot add the empty set to a set without changing it unless it already contains the empty set as an element; ∅ is not an element of ∅, and it is not an element of {-p, -t, -k, -q} either.

What I know of linguistics (way before Government and binding) uses rewrite systems (still in use in computer science). In such systems, a variable may be rewritten as a sequence of variables and letters in some alphabet. When the right-hand side contains nothing, we use the empty string, denoted ε or λ or Λ but never ∅, even if the right-hand side looks like "nothing". For instance the grammar X -> ε, X ->Xa generates the set of strings {ε, a, aa, aaa, aaaa, ... }. Would you ever use ∅ for ε? If not, why is it more justified with morphemes?

charles ellertson's picture

The difference between the modifier letters (U+02BB – U+02BD and U+02EE) versus the open and close quotes (U+2018 & U+2019) is not really in their appearance. Instead, the modifier letters in Unicode belong to the Lm (Modifier_Letter) category and hence they are meant to be processed like alphabetic characters (A–Z, etc.). That means that they are part of the language’s alphabet rather than being accessory symbols like punctuation. In contrast, U+2018 and U+2019 are in the Pi and Pf categories respectively (Initial_Punctuation and Final_Punctuation). They are punctuation characters just like the ampersand, hyphen, question mark, octothorpe, and so forth.

You miss my point. As long as the task is limited to getting ink on paper, there is not much of a problem -- ink does not preserve character encodings. Or, if your purpose is limited to academics circulating texts privately, the problems are manageable.

When you move to publishing material, the problems are rather larger, and decisions more complicated. Now the correct Unicode encoding is important. Here are the problems: (1) Few type designers are willing to include character sets with limited use. (2) Few font publishers are willing to allow their fonts to be modified to make up the needed characters. (3) Few people who select typefaces for published material are willing to use fonts that do include the proper Unicode character. (3) has two forks: (a) the designers who select fonts for ink on paper (rather less of a problem), and (b) the ebook reader device manufacturers, who limit the typefaces their devices will display.

So, someone preparing these files -- the typesetter -- is faced with the decision about which character to use. Skipping the problems ink on paper, every book I've worked on in the past two years has required an eventual ebook. The choice one faces is to use punctuation characters, which are wrong and limit searching a file, or using the correct character, which will be searchable, but will not display.

jcrippen's picture

[charles_e:] The choice one faces is to use punctuation characters, which are wrong and limit searching a file, or using the correct character, which will be searchable, but will not display.

Yes, this is the exact problem that I have faced, and which I have kludged around with by having TeX display one character but embed a different one in the text stream of a PDF. The hyperref package includes a command \texorpdfstring to do this. It’s a nasty kludge though, and it’d be better if fonts included characters with appropriate variant forms. I’m not a font designer and not willing to abuse EULAs on existing fonts, so I haven’t fixed this problem for myself. It’d be nice if either EULAs were a bit more flexible for these not-entirely-unusual circumstances, and/or if font designers could ask around a bit more about potential uses of their works. It’s not possible to please everybody, but it is possible to try.

charles ellertson's picture

James,

Consider that it isn't the EULA, but the permission to modify that is the issue. For example, Adobe gives the end user permission to modify fonts for one's own use. It is in Adobe's FAQ. It counts as one of the permissible copies. But the Adobe EULA at least use to forbid modifications. It would seem the specifics of the FAQ override a portion of the EULA, as would written permission from the font publisher.

My belief is the EULA is/was an attempt to stop piracy, and modification for one's own use is only occasionally seen as an extra revenue stream. Anyway, if you ask for and receive permission, modification is allowable. The large font publishers have, for a while now, refused to give permission. Back in the mid-1900s, they sometimes did. Well, that's two or more owners ago for Linotype, and at least a couple of owners ago for Monotype. FontFont use to occasionally grant permission when they first moved into the States. But forget them as of 2012.

Adobe's policy solves the print problem, and probably the PDF problem, but not the ebook problem, until font embedding (EPUB3) is implemented by Apple and Amazon. Fat chance, today. And the font publishers may want to rule separately on web fonts. At this point, who can say? But some won't and that's all it takes.

BTW, there are other small foundries/font publishers who will give permission.

hrant's picture

As the state of Israel can attest, a policy of ambiguity can be useful...
But it doesn't win you trusted friends, and I think a foundry needs that.

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

I sort of agree, hrant. Soon, layout programs will perhaps include a font editing program inside. They already have glyph scaling (non-proportional). All we need is weight changing, and perhaps character addition. I find it absurd that you can "modify" a font with one kind of software, but not another. I know, it is a piracy issue. BTW, there is a small discussion of this in my chapter in Rich's forthcoming book. Are you sure you won't buy a copy? Still going to use the library? ;-)

(I'll allow the discussion is too short to be worth the cost. There are other points discussed...)

hrant's picture

The books I check out from UCLA nobody else ever wants for
some reason. So I just keep renewing them online. I've had some
of them over ten years. Sometimes I hit their 99 renewal limit, at
which point I have to call in, act dumb and get it reset to zero.

hhp

Michel Boyer's picture

Concerning the slashed zero shape for the empty set, here is what the Unicode Technical Report #25, Unicode Support for Mathematics (docx, 328K) says about it:

A widespread alternate symbol for the empty set is a slashed digit zero. This can be encoded as U+0030 DIGIT ZERO followed by U+0338 COMBINING LONG SOLIDUS OVERLAY.

Michel

Sylph's picture

Thanks, adding it to the "list".

Cheers, Si

It seems that it hasn't been added to the latest versions of Calibri and Cambria.

If you select some text with the character, you'll get it in MS Mincho font.

Sylph's picture

Has anything been done on this front?

Sylph's picture

Three years and nothing has been fixed?

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