Drop caps in non latin alphabeths?

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Andrea Bergamini's picture
Joined: 2 Dec 2007 - 4:56am
Drop caps in non latin alphabeths?
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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
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006 - 7:22pm
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Greek seems to have at least a historical basis for drop caps: See Aldus and Estienne.

Reed Reibstein's picture
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006 - 7:22pm
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The newspaper Al-Shabiba of Oman uses drop caps on its features page, but perhaps it's not common practice.

Andrea Bergamini's picture
Joined: 2 Dec 2007 - 4:56am
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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
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Joined: 23 Feb 2006 - 7:22pm
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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!)

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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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