Typographic rules in foreign languages

andreas_vogel's picture


I'm curious about finding informations related to [see subject ;-)] on the Inet, except for a czech site written in czech. There is a book called "Detailtypographie" (in German) from Forssmann/deJong, but the informations there are only scratching the surface and cover just a few languages.

Maybe I used the wrong keywords in search engines (being no native speaker), so if anybody could post a link, that would be great.

Thanks in advance,


dan_reynolds's picture

Detailtypografie may only really cover German, but it goes way deeper than the surface. This book has become the "Bible" of German typography, and is quite thorough and good, if a little dry

John Hudson's picture

This book has become the "Bible" of German typography...

You mean all I need is that book, a Duden and a bowtie and I can actually be Erik Spiekermann? Cool!

dan_reynolds's picture

Detailtypografie was writen by Friedrich Forssman & Ralf de Jong, not by Erik Spiekermann. I'll let you continue to use your imagination to try and find ways of becomming more like him

John Hudson's picture

Oh yes, I did not mean to imply that the book was written by Erik: he's just the first German typographer who popped into my head.

andreas_vogel's picture

No doubt, Detailtypografie is a bible to me as well, but I am looking for differences in typesetting in even more languages than those that are covered there (e. g. spacing in combination with quotation marks, as used in french typesetting), and I also don't want to rely only on one source...

As for English, it's easy to find a lot, but what about information if there has to be space before three periods (as at the end of the last sentence) in Hungarian? Written in a language I understand? ;-) And visiting websites in that languages to find examples often offers more questions than answers.

Another possibility would be to start a project in wikipedia.org, but I'm afraid that "Typographic rules in foreign languages" would not be the keyword(s) someone else would search for and I don't know of a more suitable term.

timd's picture

Hart's Rules for Compositors (also mentioned in Bringhurst) has sections on European languages and its, much cheaper, descendant also from Oxford press has limited information on European languages.
Bringhurst also mentions getting style guides in the language they are intended for - not much use if you don't know the language. As for relying on websites for information only experience of the host really gives me confidence to trust them.

twardoch's picture

The multilingual section of Detailtypografie is actually pretty good, although buggy. I actually corrected a few bugs in the Polish-relevant information just before the 2nd edition of the book went to press. My corrections went to the errata.

It's really the only reasonable source that covers several languages at once. For German, obviously, it is an excellent source.

For Polish, there is good information on the web collected by my good fellow Robert Chwalowski:
and more in-depth info is in his book:

Of course, both in Polish :>


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