Non-Latin ligatures

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Matthew Stephen Stuckwisch's picture
Joined: 7 Feb 2007 - 10:21am
Non-Latin ligatures
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Somehow I have a feeling that of the European scripts, the Latin and Armenian scripts can't be the only one with a typographical history of [[ligature|ligatures]]. Are there any common ligatures in Cyrillic/Georgian/Greek scripts? Or any common ligatures in Latin/Armenian other than the standard ones defined in the [[Unicode]] spec (in addition to other semi-common ligatures like fj, ct, ck, it, ip)?

Brian Jongseong Park's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2006 - 12:53pm
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Greek, as written by mediaeval scribes, used to have lots of ligatures that make it really difficult for me to read Greek manuscripts from that era. Adaptation to the typographic age must have had something to do with the fact that we don't see them so much anymore.

Nowadays in Greek typography, I think ligatures serve mainly an aesthetic function rather than arising from scribal shorthand; some ligatures I see are for double lambda or double gamma and the like.

Matthew Stephen Stuckwisch's picture
Joined: 7 Feb 2007 - 10:21am
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What would a double lambda or double gamma look like? The only Greek ligature I can find info on (for modern-day Greek typefaces) is the OU.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos.» (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Aleksander Lenart's picture
Joined: 4 Sep 2006 - 9:58am
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In Polish double "ł" ligature could be considered.

From Adam Twardoch's manual:

_______
AL
lenart.pl

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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http://www.backpacker.gr/

> Projects >shop lettering

Pics by George Trianta (Backpacker) show several Greek ligs.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Greek used to be the king of ligation. No, the god of ligation.

But then they became infested with Modernism.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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An interesting comparison would be Garamond's Greek with Granjon's Civilité.

infested with Modernism

However, the printers (in the 16th C?) who kicked out all the ligatures probably thought dealing with them on a daily basis was too much nit-picking :-)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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The guy who started the kicking was actually English.
In fact native Greeks actually had very little general
influence on the evolution of their script at that time.
This was due largely to the Ottoman Empire.

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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The double lamda and double gamma are perhaps the most prevalent of Greek ligatures.

Here is a sample from Arno Pro:

ChrisL

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Nick, sorry, somehow I read "Greek printers" where you'd simply written "printers"! So I would instead say: yes that must have had something to do with it, on the other hand the difficulty of setting ligated Greek was no easier in the age of Granjon, but those guys simply hadn't fallen for the charms of Simplification. Over-simplification, in my book. Difficult things (like making fonts!) are quite often worth the effort. And Complexity is sometimes just the ticket.

hhp

E. Kovacs's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2007 - 4:56pm
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ChrisL: The double lamda and double gamma are perhaps the most prevalent of Greek ligatures.

Right. But should they be stowed under "standard" ligatures? Probably not. They occur in medial positions only in Greek and can often appear at hyphenation break points. Depending on character design, other commonly doubled consonants that are candidates for ligation include: double mu, double sigma, double pi, double rho, and double nu. However, since none of these doubled consonants are found in initial occurrence in Greek (except, perhaps, in some transliterated "loan words" from foreign languages — though even that seems a stretch too far), the same hyphenation caveat would appear to apply. The upshot, then? At best, these all seem candidates for "discretionary" ligatures, not "standard" alongside fi, ff, ffl, and so on.

Regards,
Ernie

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Opentype allows breaking of ligatures for hyphenation on the fly in Adobe Suite apps.
By the same token, if you are setting Greek, the fi, fl, ffl, ffi ligs are also never used unless you have out of script words in the text.

ChrisL

E. Kovacs's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2007 - 4:56pm
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... hyphenation on the fly in Adobe Suite apps

Really? Well, good for Adobe and their users. What about QuarkXPress/Passport and other apps? What's the status there?

In any case, do you feel such Greek ligatures merit inclusion under "standard" (liga) or "discretionary" (dlig) or perhaps as contextual alternates (calt)? I'd opt for "discretionary" unless wiser counsel chimes in (e.g., John Hudson, Adam Twardoch, Gerry Leonidas).

Regards,
Ernie

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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My vote would be for standard for the two I mentioned but I think the type designer should make that decision case-by-case.

ChrisL