Cyrillic: 04AA, 04AB

Andreas Stötzner's picture

This char. is defined in the UC charts as belonging to the Bashkirian and Chuvash alphabets.

– Are further uses known?
– Are there traces of pre-1938 existence of this char. anywhere?

Any hints highly appreciated.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

– Are further uses known?
– Are there traces of pre-1938 existence of this char. anywhere?
Any hints highly appreciated.

[emphasis mine. мЖ] Ogonek?… Cedilla?… It’s just that, according to Vladimir Yefimov, the shapes of those diacritics are not identical in Bashkir (top) and in Chuvash (bottom):

Michel Boyer's picture

And on top of that, PT Serif has an additional "default" shape (the first one below, if I select the Cyrillic script with XeLaTeX without choosing Language=Chuvash nor Language=Bashkir). For what language is that default shape?

Andreas Stötzner's picture

I have also spotted that there is a confusion about the shape of this descender. In the UCS annotations I read: “letterforms with right hooks are preferred, although occasional variants with left hooks occur.”
– That would be a fourth variant, Michel.
And it states further, that in Chuvashia the letter often appears much like the french ç.
This is the graphic issue, so far.

But I’m also very curious if there is any evidence for the char. of the time before the 1930ies.

Michel Boyer's picture

Concerning Chuvash, you can have a fast look at the link http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Чувашская_письменность. There is a table that gives what letters were in the alphabet at various periods (1769, 1867, 1872, 1873, 1910 and after 1949).

There is also a link to page 103 of Ashmarin's book on "Bolgars and Chuvashs" dated 1902 where the character is essentially a c cedilla.

Michel Boyer's picture

Note also how, in the Wiki page above, they call the diacritic:

седиль (в букве Ҫ ҫ)

i.e. "cedilla (in the letter Ҫ ҫ)".

Added: I guess the Bashkir shape can also be seen as a cedilla. However, I would rather call ogonek the shape proposed here, i.e. the fourth one.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Michel, this is awesome. Thank you.

Michel Boyer's picture

Here is another shape, used this time in Bashkir, and which is directed rightwards.


I grabbed it from the tv program at the bottom of this link.

The same shape is used under ҙ and ҫ in this poster for teaching the alphabet, taken from http://стенды-калипсо.рф/stendy_v_shkolu/bashkirskij_yazyk/. All the samples I could find are quite small.

Michel Boyer's picture

Here is some additional hints. If you google

      Times New Roman Helver Bashkir

you find many links to instruction pages, for submitting conference papers, that contain an instruction like this one (taken from one of those links)

Работы на русском языке необходимо оформить шрифтом Times New Roman, а работы на башкирском языке - шрифтом Helver Bashkir

which I translate as

Works in Russian must be presented in the font Times New Roman, those in Bashkir in the font Helver Bashkir.

(Some add that papers in English are also to be submitted in Times New Roman). Here are four characters from Helver Bashkir:

Michel Boyer's picture

I found this interesting link on the Paratype site that I don't remember having seen cited:

http://www.paratype.com/help/language/ in English
http://www.paratype.ru/help/language/ in Russian (with additional comments)

In particular the alphabets for Bashkir and Chuvash are given, with special characters in red and alternate forms between brackets.

I did not know that there were so many letters in the French alphabet: French !

Michel

Michel Boyer's picture

The comment concerning "right hooks" can also be found in the file http://www.unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/NamesList.txt for U+0498 and U+0499

0498 CYRILLIC CAPITAL LETTER ZE WITH DESCENDER
0499 CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER ZE WITH DESCENDER
* Bashkir
* letterforms with right hooks are preferred, although occasional variants with left hooks occur

That letter appears to occur only in Bashkir. I have found only one clear occurrence of such a horizontally flipped Bashkir cedilla, in the nameplate of this magazine for women.

Nick Shinn's picture

What’s the big deal about the shape of such fly-specks?
Unless there is the possibility for confusion with similar accented characters (or the possibility of the accented character being mistaken for another character with an adnate extender), why bother being so didactic?

Is there no leeway to style the diacritic according to the ductus of the typeface?

Consider that in French the cedilla may be rendered as several alternatives to the default sickle, without raising a fuss amongst typophiles or confounding native readers.

**

And in general, why is there this big thing about the “correct” shape of Cyrillic glyphs?
I get the impression it’s a xenophobic tactic to keep neocolonial Latinadors at bay, producing dull and conservative type designs, while leaving the field for innovation open to natives.

Is Cyrillic being held to a different standard than Latin?
No one is concerned that typefaces such as Bree are idiomatic miscegenations which will corrupt Latin type culture, with poor readability that will alienate native readers. If we had thought that way—150 years ago—the single bowl /g would never have crossed over from italic to roman, and we’d have no Helvetica!

Like Latin, Cyrillic and Greek have handwritten letter forms that diverge markedly from upright type, so it’s not as if native readers can’t handle stylistic diversity.

I would be interested to know what role Soviet history plays in this.

Michel Boyer's picture

Is Cyrillic being held to a different standard than Latin?

Don't you remember the "cedilla vs undercomma debate" http://typophile.com/node/49347 for the latin alphabet?

Michel

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:
What’s the big deal about the shape of such fly-specks?

It's quite true that in a display typeface on the order of Bifur or Peignot Bold, the ogonek, for example, is going to look different from its traditional shape. But one still has to know what that traditional shape is, if one is instead going to design a workhorse text face.

As someone who, I presume, has an arts background rather than a science background, you should be familiar with the role of training in strict counterpoint in music education. And when designing an innovative display face, the same truism that serves as the rationale for that applies: before you can break the rules to good effect, first you have to be well acquainted with what the rules are.

Michel Boyer's picture

I get the impression it’s a xenophobic tactic to keep neocolonial Latinadors at bay, producing dull and conservative type designs, while leaving the field for innovation open to natives.

I have no idea why those comments were put in the unicode consortium files. If you look at some pdf of the newspaper Ural (pdf) you find no right turned cedilla. You can see many nice cedillas, including this one


The font is Lazurski by Paratype. It is interesting to notice that the above character is not in the font that is distributed by Paratype; if it was commissioned, would it make any sense to commission a character with a cedilla in the wrong direction? I could find no pdf of the newspaper Bashkortostan.

Nick Shinn's picture

Yes Michel, I remember that thread, and I thought the consensus was that there was room for variance.
You yourself said, “The logical consequence is that if you see some diacritic under a c in French, that must be a cedilla.”

John: …before you can break the rules to good effect, first you have to be well acquainted with what the rules are.

There is no need for prescriptive rules; but there are standards.
As a designer, I prefer to study the field myself, and form my own conclusions about what constitutes standard practice. Michel’s statement, quoted above, taken in context with the ductus of the typeface, and an awareness of various other type designers’ solutions, is sufficient.
For unicode characters, a suggested glyph is presented by the consortium, but this does not mean, for instance that binocular g is the rule.

**

The evolution of the vertical hacek is an interesting example of the way that practice gets ahead of standards, creating new standards. The Microsoft site says, “In the lowercase the apostrophe is the preferred diacritic,” but that is no longer true.

John Hudson's picture

I was in Istanbul recently, and observed a very clear-cut distinction between display typography and text typography when it comes to the Çç and Şş. In display typography, any kind of mark at all below the letter is accepted as representing the cedilla. Since the cedilla is the only below-letter mark in the Turkish orthography, there is no danger of any mark below C or S being mistaken for something other than cedilla. A dot is very common, diamonds too, and even a horizontal line like a macron below the letter. But in text typography the cedilla qua cedilla is absolutely the norm. I asked Turkish designers at the ISType conference about this and they were adamant that in a text face anything other than a cedilla would be considered incorrect by readers, even thought he same readers happily accept other forms in display type.

I think this is very much the kind of phenomenon that, rightly, encourages type designers to seek the norms for text typography in various scripts and languages, and Andreas' question is entirely reasonable. This is not to say that such a definite norm exists for Bashkir text typography, but that it may, and looking at display typography may be misleading or irrelevant.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

in a text face anything other than a cedilla would be considered incorrect by readers, even thought he same readers happily accept other forms in display type.

It works exactly the same way with the kratka (‘Cyrillic breve’) in Russian.

Nick Shinn's picture

I asked Turkish designers at the ISType conference about this and they were adamant that in a text face anything other than a cedilla would be considered incorrect by readers, even thought he same readers happily accept other forms in display type.

That sounds like the professionals telling the readers what’s good for them, because it doesn’t make any sense otherwise: the readers don’t mind all kinds of accent when the type is large enough that they can see the difference, but when it’s so small they can’t see the difference, then they won’t tolerate any difference!

It works exactly the same way with the kratka (‘Cyrillic breve’) in Russian.

Surely not—it seems to me that there are many varieties of kratka in body type, with both symmetrical (e.g. New Standard) and asymmetric (e.g. Lazurski, Didona) forms, and with open (New Standard) and furled (e.g. Academy) forms. There are even some body types which have an angular, caron-like kreska, and Kuzanyan has a lower-case kreska that looks like an acute with a tilde swoosh! Are these all display faces?

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Are these all display faces?

Dear Nick, most of the Russian typefaces you’ve mentioned indeed originated as display designs. Two notable exceptions are Academy (a version of Sorbonne, H. Berthold A.-G.) and New Standard (née Monotype Series No. 27, a.k.a. Neo Didot Russian).

Nick Shinn's picture

“…originated as display designs…” is a bit equivocal.

Isn’t Yefimov’s Lazurski, with its “tick mark”, asymmetric kreska, a bona fide text face?
It is certainly marketed as such.

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:
There is no need for prescriptive rules; but there are standards.

The purpose prescriptive rules serve is saving one the trouble of having to find out the standard for oneself.

Sometimes, yes, prescriptive rules don't properly reflect the real standard (split infinitives, and ending sentences with a preposition, come to mind) and otherwise get in the way, but in general I don't think they're as bad as they're sometimes made out to be.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Isn’t Yefimov’s Lazurski, with its “tick mark”, asymmetric kreska, a bona fide text face? It is certainly marketed as such.

Yes, it is marketed as a text/display design. However, it is not very practical for body text composition.

Vadim Lazurski was not a type design professional. He was a fine book designer (so were Kuzanyan and Telingater,b.t.w.), and a highly skilled lettering artist. Lazurski was one of the best Soviet experts in the history of typography and type design. He was also a mentor, and a dear friend of mine.

Lazurski had only one type design under his belt, Garnitura Lazurskogo, developed for linecasting composition (in two sizes, 10 and 8 pt.). Of the two sizes produced—cut from the same master drawing—only one, 10 pt., seemed to work, but neither was used in print. In his designing the typeface Lazurski was heavily assisted by Anatoly Schukin, an experienced staff designer at VNIIPoligrafmash but that did not help much. The printing of Pushkin’s Cavaliere di Bronzo (Verona: Officina Bodoni, 1968), where a special cut of his typeface was used alongside Giovanni Mardersteig’s Dante, is a different story in its entirety.

Lazurski’s type design seemed to have a second chance in 1983–4 when VNIIPoligrafmash started adapting its type library to the requirements of domestic phototypesetting. Vladimir worked very hard adjusting the letterforms, their proportions, stroke weight, the spacing of the glyphs—everything—trying to make the design more usable; he practically redrew everything… And yet, he was not too happy with the results. He told me, not once, that a lot more, and much more radical, revisions should have been necessary to make the design work well at body text sizes.

The bottom line: Lazurski Roman still looks its best at larger sizes, not 10 pt.

John Hudson's picture

Nick: That sounds like the professionals telling the readers what’s good for them, because it doesn’t make any sense otherwise.

Given that type designers and other 'creative professionals' tend to be, well, creative, this also doesn't make any sense. Readers tend to be more conservative than designers. Perhaps more to the point, the publishers who stand between the creative professionals and the readers tend to be very conservative, because if they innovate they run the risk of people not buying their product. This is why even magazine text typography tends to be conservative and follow established norms, while display typography goes wild beside and around the text.

Michel Boyer's picture

I took the time to look at the previous versions of the Unicode Consortium file NamesList.txt; they are available since version 2.0.0. Here is what I found (in case you were not aware).

From version 2.0.0 (July 1996) to version 2.1.9 (April 1999) the comment for 0498, 0499, 04AA and 04AB was:

* cedilla form preferred

From version 3.0.0 (Sept 1999) to version 4.1.0 (March 31, 2005) the comment for those same characters was:

* reversed ogonek form of the descender is preferred

The current comments appeared in version 5.0.0 (July 14, 2006).

Nick Shinn's picture

The bottom line: Lazurski Roman still looks its best at larger sizes, not 10 pt.

That’s all very well Maxim, but just because you don’t think it’s a very good text face doesn’t make it a display face.

As you admit, it was designed and manufactured as a text face (8 and 10 pt).

And it still has a háček-shaped kratka, surviving the transition to both phototype and digital.

**

Vadim Lazurski could be compared with any number of Western type designers during the industrial era—Goudy, Dwiggins, Gill, Cooper, Koch, Renner, Menhart &c.—who, on the strength of their abilities as typographers and lettering artists, were contracted by foundries to design text types. Of course, they were not initially “type design professionals”, and had a few things to learn about designing type, while bumping heads with the technical staff at the foundries.

Naturally, these non-type-design-professionals would attempt to integrate diacritic design into the general design of a face. This was due to their understanding, as letterers/calligraphers, of the importance of consistent ductus; an understanding which was at odds with production methods at foundries, in which it was common practice to create accented characters for a new type by using standard renderings, as noted by Veronika Burian: “Normally, Monotype would have choosen them from a standard set of marks and then cast them together with the letter on the type body.” (Oldrich Menhart, fig. 82: http://www.rosettatype.com/resources/typo_bites/menhart/menhart.pdf)

There are hence severtal perspectives on what is best for diacritics:

1. Type designers, with a broad knowledge of letterform and an understanding of ductus (if not themselves calligraphers/letters), will attempt to integrate mark shape into the general style of a type, often in creative ways that produce non-standard forms.

2. Type professionals more involved with theory or production tend towards standard forms, for reasons of neatness and efficiency. As John notes, publishers tend to be conservative.

3. Readers: they have no say in the matter. So far, cognitive psychologists haven’t addressed what’s best for them.

I once conducted an experiment with various alternates of l-slash (different angles, heights and weights of the slash) interspersed amongst a setting of text, with a Polish reader. She read the whole text fluently, and even after I had told her what was odd about the type, still couldn’t discern the differences. Admittedly, this was rather unscientific, but it confirmed my prejudices that, when the rubber hits the road, there is some flexibility permissable in the design of diacritics.

Michel Boyer's picture

When searching for images of Bashkir cedillas I had found this one


and dismissed it as uninteresting. Afterwards, I found the source, http://www.mv74.ru/seminar/news.php?item.25.1, and realized it is on the welcome sign at the entrance of a Bashkir school. I am posting it before discarding. Maybe it has some relevance, after all.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

It surely has some relevance. Though I think, after all the confusion revealed, this is actually a typical case for a field study to answer.
Any help from Baschkiristan colleagues would be most welcome.

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