Cyrillic questionary booth

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Vassil Kateliev's picture
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Cyrillic questionary booth
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Sorry to delete this but I must really say that all written by me was really shxx.
My apologies to all of you.

Brian Jongseong Park's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2006 - 12:53pm
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So HermesSoft are the only ones producing fonts in Bulgaria? That's rough... So what kind of Cyrillic types were produced in Bulgaria or used by Bulgarians historically, before digital fonts? How would those types be judged by today's Bulgarians?

In your opinion, what constitutes good Cyrillic design on the Bulgarian model? Are there any good, thoughtful examples being produced--lettering, custom logos, calligraphy, etc.--that might point the way? Or any historical high marks--models from the past that epitomize good Bulgarian Cyrillic design--that could be a good springboard for a present renewal?

Is there one model or a diverse range of models to follow for Bulgarian Cyrillic? Sorry to barrage you with questions, but I'm eager to learn about Bulgarian typographic traditions and the current scene.

Vassil Kateliev's picture
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< deleted >

julia dantchev's picture
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I'm Bulgarian, and I just got back two days ago and I tried desperately to find a font pack on disc, but to no avail. Our actual calligraphic and hand drawn letters are gorgeous. The text on icons is gorgeous and inspiring and all of the text I see from store awning to awning I just can't imagine where they came from. I feel pathetic that I, as a Bulgarian own only 3 true cyrillic faces.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I personally have a very large interest in Latinization - in taming it that is!
From reading what you've writted I can't figure out your own stance on it.
Also, there's a Russification issue in the Bulgarian case as well, no? That's
an obscure area needing much more elaboration.

BTW, you might enjoy this:

Arabicized Cyrillic!

hhp

Brian Jongseong Park's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2006 - 12:53pm
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Brian, if you're still reading this thread --any luck with the italic lower case little yus reference?

I'm sorry I've kept you waiting. I went scouring all over the Internet for samples of early modern Bulgarian printed works that include italics—how I miss having access to a large university library!—and after some frustrating 'almost' finds, Google Books bailed me out:

A grammar of the Bulgarian language with exercises and English and Bulgarian vocabularies (1859) includes a table of the letters that include italic forms. Perhaps because it reflects a chaotic situation in terms of orthography at the time, it also includes a variety of iotified forms including the iotified yus. It includes some interesting information, such as that the fact that most of the books then in use were printed in Russia, where some of the letters not available were substituted, including yus with 'y' (p. 10).

The italic yus, as far as I can tell from the low-resolution scan, simply looks like a slanted yus.

That's all I could find so far, and I hope the Bulgarians here can provide more help on the italic forms of obsolete letters.

froo's picture
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To use yat', you need to hear it or know spelling rules. Without learning them, I, as a Pole, could only guess where to put it into Russian text, observing flexion of my language.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Thanks Brian.
I love the exercise phrases in that 1859 book.

I'll post images of some yus's soon.

Nina Stössinger's picture
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Nick – at the risk of pointing out the obvious (and offtopic too), the long s is not just a stylistic variant of the "s"; its use does (did) follow spelling rules. The comparison to one-story or two-story "g" does not make much sense to me, as those are purely variations in style, without roots in orthography.

Brian Jongseong Park's picture
Joined: 15 Mar 2006 - 12:53pm
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I love the exercise phrases in that 1859 book.

Charming, aren't they?

What kind of needles has he brought from Hamburg? (p. 62)
When we were rich we also wore fine clothes. (p. 89)
From whom do you come? I come from the shoemakers. (p. 98)
Where are you going in this rain, in this bad weather, in this cold, in this dust? (p. 98)

When I saw that you were doing a 19th-century revival, I thought it would be nice to have the additional Bulgarian letters appropriate for the period. After looking at the low-resolution samples online of Bulgarian printed texts from the period, I'm only more convinced that those letters would be excellent additions to your project.

The typographic component of the Bulgarian revival seems to have owed a lot to the Cyrillic types produced in the Russian Empire, and the Adolf Darre typeface you chose is as good a representative as any. I confess I'm not really a fan of moderns for Latin type, but for Cyrillic this period style seems to work perfectly, with the vertical stress and prominent bulbs. I'm sure a quality digital revival will serve as a welcome source of inspiration for today's cyrillic type designers.

Nick Shinn's picture
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it would be nice to have the additional Bulgarian letters appropriate for the period.

In this little section, there are a couple of iotified forms, so those, and possibly others, would have to be added too.
The accents could be done by the typographer.

But who would use such a font?
For comparison, it would be like setting Shakespeare in English with long s's -- sure, it would be nice, and very authentic, but consider how little demand there would be for that -- despite the huge readership of Shakespeare -- and compare that with the number of readers of old Bulgarian!

One would be better employed, as Adobe has recently done, extending Cyrillic support to cover further tens of millions of present-day readers/writers -- and is still criticized (on the Phinney blog) for its discretionary cut off-line that leaves out several languages.

mary's picture
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Cyrillic types from Bulgaria are more than calligraphy. It's art. I came across it while at the phoenix web design about a year ago.

Nick Shinn's picture
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And here is an iotified little yus.

So for 1859 Bulgarian I need to add:

little yus
iotified little yus
iotified a
iotifed e

Any more?

Considering that each weight has roman and italic, caps, small caps, and lower case, that's six different glyphs for each character, and at the moment I have a family of "only" three weights/styles, so that's 72 extra glyphs required to implement the feature...

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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  • To use yat', you need to hear it or know spelling rules.

What’s wrong with knowing spelling rules? Of your own, or a foreign language? Yes, in almost all languages there are many spelling conventions one could declare ‘a linguistic ballast‘… Say, why shouldn’t one spell physics as fiziks? That could work much better, right?

Marcin, it looks like you know Russian. If you do, check that excellent essay on yer (the hard sign) written by Professor Albert Baiburin. It is very well written. I loved his quoting Leon Trotsky’s passionate rejection of yat’:

  • The letter yat’, as well as the hard sign, the fita and the izhitsa belong to that nobility class in our alphabet which has been eliminated by the October Revolution. Those were unnecessary, redundant letters, of the parasitic-gentility kind. They’ve been done away with […]. As to the other letters, which are truly necessary—they have no noble, parasitic lineage, but are indeed hard-toiling, working letters.’

Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira. Tous les signes durs on les pendra!

Dušan Jelesijević's picture
Joined: 8 May 2009 - 6:39am
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All this just for spelling issue?
Hm... whatever anyone said, I'd always call it Ћирилица like we were taught and generations before us.
For English version of this word... I really don't care so much cause probably big % of English spoken population couldn't said Ћирилица on proper way like we said in Serbia... so if you ask me, I think no one should be offended by this.

froo's picture
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I introduced confusion. I know, that Lomonosov stated that the difference between sounds of Ѣ and e was barely unrecognisable. For me it looked like the evolving language started to throw the ballast away. But the rest of my post was overinterpretation. Old spelling rules were ubiquitous at the time (and they come back as we've seen), so yat' should be included in good Cyrillic font.

Let me quote this photo as my self-ironic dedication to you, Mr. Maxim. Thank you.

paul d hunt's picture
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Maxim, I prefer 'fizix'.

Michel Boyer's picture
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Tous les signes durs on les pendra!

I thought it was only those in final position.

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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  • Bulgarian: кирилица.
    There, is that better?

It is. I stand corrected. The spelling of the word word 'Cyrillic' varies among most Slavic languages using that script:

  • Belarusian: кірыліца;
  • Bulgarian: кирилица;
  • Macedonian: кирилица;
  • Russian: кириллица;
  • Serbian: ћирилица;
  • Ukrainian: кирилиця.
Maxim Zhukov's picture
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Just tried the „блѣдно-сѣрый бѣдный бѣсъ убѣжалъ, бѣдняга, въ лѣсъ“. Works fine. Thank you very much, Danslav.

froo's picture
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Dear Nick,
I think that yat was a linguistic ballast in Pushkin's times. But...
He probably used it as tool of poetry; for various technical, or aesthetic, romantic reasons.
Including yat in the font could be a great hommage to his poetry. I suppose the poems ("modernised", written with e instead of Ѣ), loose the melody and probably some rhymes.

Nick Shinn's picture
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the pre-1918 spelling is still used—in Russia and world-wide—in clerical literature, scholarly print, even general publishing.

Yes, it is considered spelling, according to the Unicode distinction between character and glyph.
By the same token, the long s (used by all English authors prior to 1800) should be considered different spelling.
It was not abolished by government decree, but fell from usage.

I'm pretty sure, however, that nobody really considers the long s to be a different spelling, any more than changing from two-bowl "g" to single bowl.

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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  • I thought it was only those in final position.

In actuality those revolutionary sailors came and trashed all yers—both upper and lower case, from all compositors’ cases, and all matrices from all single-letter- and line-casting machines, from all composing rooms—nation-wide. When they recovered themselves it was too late: all yers were gone, and even if some have been left, no one would have dared using them. So they started using single or double apostrophe for the separating hard sign (e.g., под’ем instead of подъем); that felt both space-saving and politically correct. Here is a fragment of an old memorial plaque I photographed in downtown Moscow two years ago:

Steve Peter's picture
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So, I just got back from a trip to Vladimir (180km outside of Moscow), and I was amazed at how many shop signs there use "Bulgarian" glyphs (k and zhe with ascenders, "italic" d, t, etc. in upright use, etc.). I can post a picture or two if people want.

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It is true that Church Slavonic is sometimes called Old Bulgarian, and that Russia and Bulgaria have had their own independent historical development of the Cyrillic letterforms.

But to go from there to criticizing Russian influence on Bulgarian type design as somehow inauthentic seems to be lacking something. Do people complain when Optima is used to set English texts as well as German ones, or when Bodoni is used to set French texts as well as Italian ones? No; it is recognized that from Poland to Spain, people are all using the same Latin alphabet, even if with slightly different sets of accented letters, and so of course they have the same pool of typefaces to choose from - even if different letter frequencies might make some typefaces more aesthetic in conjunction with some languages.

Bulgaria, Serbia, the Ukraine, Belarus, and so on share the Cyrillic alphabet with Russia. Here, some of the languages actually have additional letters, so the diversity is somewhat greater. But it is still not a question of trying to shoehorn one alphabet into the typefaces made for another - i.e., to take an Armenian typeface, and try to use those exact forms and styling for Amharic or Gujarati or Greek or Cyrillic or Latin.

John Savard's picture
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The long s certainly did follow regular rules for its appearance. Essentially, the long s was used everywhere, with two exceptions: short s was used at the end of a word, and if s occurred twice in a row, the second one was a short s.

However, since both the long and short s were forms of the letter S, and because the long/short s rules were regular, use of long and short s would be thought of, I would suspect, as part of "how you wrote" a word, not "how you spelled" a word, since how you spell a word is the sequence of letters of which it is composed. Thus, "princess" is spelled P - R - I - N - C - E - S - S even if when you write it in lowercase it looks like princefs.

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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  • any luck with the italic lower case little yus reference?

Nick, I've got you one, although cursive, not italic. However, it's not a little yus, but a big one that was part of the Bulgarian alphabet until 1945. I believe, its iotated cousin was also used in Bulgaria, until 1910s. There were attempts of using the iotated e in Bulgarian writing in mid-19th century (those are highlighted in red in the picture I refer to). Also, there are some claims to the occasional use of the iotated a in the second half of 19th century. You're sure you want to go there?

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You can write a substitution table for English that gives on the output the long s in the right places if the input file contains everywhere the letter "s" instead of 017F LATIN SMALL LETTER LONG S. Could you produce a unicode font good for Russian that would put the yat in the right positions if the input contains everywhere the letter "е" instead of 0463 CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER YAT?

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Nick,

regarding this image:

I really don't think you should include both "b" variants (the ones in top right corner). The first form (with very little space between the bowl and the foxtail) is just poorly proportioned, and the second form is simply good, and works for Russian much better than the first one.

A.

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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Dear Marcin,

I am not sure what you mean by ‘linguistic ballast’. In early 19th-century Russia using yat’—and also the decimal i, the fita, the izhitsa, the terminal yer, all abolished in 1918—was not an option. For sure, Pushkin did not use the yat’ ‘as a tool of poetry’; b.t.w., he also used it in his prose, his essays, his correspondence, his notes, his diaries, etc. He simply followed the standard spelling rules used in his times.

F.y.i., the pre-1918 spelling is still used—in Russia and world-wide—in clerical literature, scholarly print, even general publishing. This is why the letters whose use was officially discontinued in 1918 are often included in the digital Cyrillic fonts.

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Sorry* – I realize now I should've said I was thinking of German. AFAIK you can't do correct s -> longs substitution automatically in German; except maybe with a huge dictionary.
(* For any confusion; and also for sidetracking the thread.)

Michel Boyer's picture
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And I meant "opentype", not "unicode".

froo's picture
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...and I would never write that knowing spelling rules. I just wanted to say, that the appearance of yat' is based on much more complicated rules than those of the long s.

froo's picture
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OFFTOPIC: excellent essay. I don't remember when I read something so joyful and pleasant in Internet!

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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  • if s occurred twice in a row, the second one was a short s

Not necessarily. Even in Fraktur typography where the use of the long ſ is not a stylistic option, not every s in the beginning and the middle of the word should be made tall, and not every second s short. On the other hand, historically, the ſſ combination was not entirely out of question:

Please note those néceſſité, commiſſionnaire, ſageſſe. The ſſ ligature is part of the glyph sets of some popular digital fonts (shown here are Arno, Garamond Premier, and Adobe Caslon):

Nick Shinn's picture
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Thanks for your concern Adam, but my face is a revival, and that "b" is the way it was made in this genre of typeface in the late 19th century.

Here are examples from four different books (one of which is a type specimen) of that era.

I was tempted to give my face a plumb-line, vertically-stemmed "y" tail, but decided that consistency with the latin over-rode that, and not all Cyrillic y's of that era had vertical tails, although from a design point it makes sense, avoiding bumping into the teeth (descenders) of preceding characters such as "de".

Nick Shinn's picture
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You're sure you want to go there?

Well, I let you talk me into making Fita, Yat, and Izhitsa :-)
Actually, I have decided against backwards compatability with 19th century Bulgarian.
It's one thing to do a type revival, but language revival is a horse of a different colour.
Thanks for the sample, though.

But seriously, let's talk about the yat. Pushkin, the great early-19th century author, used it, so the theory goes that it would be good to set his work that way (and a Scotch Modern would be the authentic type style) -- but what is the demand or inclination for that kind of thing? Wouldn't one employ one's time better making, for instance, schwa --to support present day Khazak users, etc?

Danslav Slavenskoj's picture
Joined: 27 May 2013 - 6:50am
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You can’t write a substitution table, because some cases where ‘е’ is to be substituted by ‘ѣ’ results in multiple options, the choice amongst which is non-trivial and requires grammatical analysis of the sentence. The same can be said for other letters which appear in classical texts: ‘і’, ‘ѵ’, ‘ѳ’. Not only that, but the reforms of 1918 changed Russian grammar rules as well as spelling rules.

That said, I've created an online services that inserts ‘ѣ’ and other letters, including Bulgarian ‘ѫ’, where they should be in Russian and Bulgarian texts using a combination of algorithmic substitutions and dictionary lookups. Where multiple options are available for one modern word, all choices are presented.

You can access the Bulgarian interface at: бъл.славеница.com
Select Бъгларски - нови правопис and convert to Български - иванчевски правопис.

ръкописна книга → рѫкописна книга

For Russian, рус.славеница.com
Select Русский - новое правописание and convert to Русскій - петровское правописание.

Danslav Slavenskoj's picture
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Yat' apears mostly where Polish uses ia: biały → бѣлый.
For Czech speakers, yat' appears where ě appears, and sometimes í: dílo, dělo → дѣло, v Prazě → в Прагѣ.

Vassil Kateliev's picture
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.

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.

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.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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What happened to "many have forgotten and denied
the cultural roots/styles/arts/crafts (negative)"?
Does perhaps your dislike of the Russian influence
(partly) motivate your embracing of Latinization?

Personally I think Latinization is generally terrible.
For a full explanation as to why, please read my article
entitled "Latinization: Prevention and Cure", which has
been published in two jounals: Spatium #4 (Austria) and
Hyphen 2005 (Greece).

Here's a "preview":
http://www.themicrofoundry.com/ss_rome1.html

> for us there is no difference between latinised and standard Cyrillic.

I don't think you can pretend to speak for everybody.
Plus I don't understand how you can like Latinization
if there's no difference.

> so get to work

Oh, I've been working to tame Latinization for 7 years now.
I make fonts that way, and write articles & give talks about it.

> it’s no problem how actually glyphs look

Funny hearing that from a graphic designer.
Everything matters. And to us, especially glyphs.

hhp

Vassil Kateliev's picture
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<>

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< removed >

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> there is no russian influence

That's not believable.

> why don’t u tame ...

There are only so many hours in the day!
Plus I'm Armenian.

But I think during my next talk (in October at UCLA) I will indeed
mention in passing that some Bulgarians turn to Latinization as a
reaction against Russification. Politics is everywhere!

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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With OpenType, this is not so much an issue for the type designer, more for the type user.
That's because it's possible to put "country-specific" variants of the Cyrillic alphabet in the same font. What's specified as the default for a specific language may be an issue, however.

I've been developing some new typefaces (to be released this Fall/Autumn) in Cyrillic and Greek, and following a seminar given by Maxim Zhukov, I became aware of the Bulgarian issue. So I've included a Bulgarian "language specific" option to the standard Cyrillic letterforms in the fonts. Serbian too.

So while the basic Cyrillic typeface (below) is a fairly authentic 19th century revival (close to a type published by Adolf Darre in Harkov in 1888) the Bulgarian alternates are "historical fiction" based on a study of fonts published by HermesSoft. Given the logic of typographic style, and its relative portability across cultural (well, Latin-Greek-Cyrillic anyway) and temporal boundaries, that seems reasonable.

Here is the upright style of the serifed face, which shows the most distinction between standard and Bulgarian Cyrillic forms:

To clarify how this works: when the language used in the layout application is specified as Bulgarian ("BGR"), the Bulgarian alternates are substituted.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> this is not so much an issue for the type designer

Well, the type designer still has to make the "sensitive" fonts! :-/
As you're doing - which is commendable.

Also, software currently still ignores the language tags, no?

hhp

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commendable.

Thanks Hrant, your advocacy is not without effect, and the Typophile forums really help sort out this kind of thing.

software currently still ignores the language tags, no?

I don't know too much about that, but it did come up on a thread in the Build forum, and Miguel indicated that it wasn't an issue. What's your experience of this, Vassil -- does the software used in Bulgaria support language tags in OpenType fonts?

I'm anticipating that some of the market for this typeface will be trans-national corporations producing multi-lingual material for the EU, and their suppliers should have the Adobe CS software which supports this kind of OpenType font sophistication.

Or should I (also) produce dedicated Bulgarian-only TrueType fonts?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
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> it wasn’t an issue.

I'm confused - what's not an issue?

> should I (also) produce dedicated Bulgarian-only TrueType fonts?

That seems wise even if the language tag is supported, because otherwise you're
assuming too much expertise both on the part of software at large as well as the
typical user. And I'd put a "Bulgarian" suffix within the name of the font.

hhp

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Actually, it was Thomas who clarified the situation:

http://typophile.com/node/33087

It looks like you need CS3 to have it work properly.

I don't know whether I would go to the trouble of producing Bulgarian-specific, non-OT fonts. That's a production, marketing and distribution hassle as much as a font generation difficulty. It would certainly be quite unproductive to make Small Cap and Old-style figures fonts.

It would probably be easier to make Bulgarian-first OT fonts, TrueType flavour -- they would work on any application that supported TrueType, with the benefit of accessing typographic OT features in earlier versions of Adobe software.