Greek weight/style nomenclature

Nick Shinn's picture

In English:

Regular
Italic
Bold
Bold Italic

Нормальное
Курсив
Полужирное
Полужирный курсив

And in greek?

Theunis de Jong's picture

Check any of Microsoft's stock fonts -- other than your typical font :) these contain localized name strings for dozens of languages, and Greek is usually among them.

Karl Stange's picture

Following Theunis' pointer:

From Palatino Linotype [edit], cross-referenced with Meiryo:

Regular | Κανονικά
Italic | Πλάγια
Bold | Έντονα
Bold Italic | Έντονα Πλάγια

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Dear Nick,

In current Russian weight nomenclature полужирное corresponds to ‘semibold’ or to ‘demibold’. The Russian for ‘bold’ is жирное. These days the masculine, not the neuter, form is preferred: полужирный, жирный—referring to шрифтm〉 (‘type’), not to начертаниеn〉 (‘style’, or ‘face’).

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks!

So:

Regular
Italic
Bold
Bold Italic

Нормальное
Курсив
Жирный
Жирный курсив

Κανονικά
Πλάγια
Έντονα
Έντονα Πλάγια

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Нормальный, not Нормальное .

Nick Shinn's picture

Oops.
But are you quite sure about this Maxim?
I originally sourced the nomenclature from the Art. Lebedev web site:
http://store.artlebedev.com/type/story/

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Nick, I am sure.

Russian/Soviet typographic nomenclature was a calque from German. So the next weight up from the Regular was always poluzhirnyi (halbfett), not zhirnyi (fett). The zhirnyi was kept for what the English-speaking typographers would call ‘extrabold’. To add to the confusion, the Regular weight was called svetlyi, ‘light’.

Take a look at the official description of Severnaya typeface, dated 1971. It was available in three versions: С1: Прямое нормальное светлое (‘Upright Regular Light’), С/1: Курсивное нормальное светлое (‘Italic Regular light’), and С3: Прямое нормальное полужирное (‘Upright Regular Demibold’); the latter was, in fact, the Bold.

Now compare it with a relatively recent announcement of a new digital typeface, Susan, by Manvel Shmavonian (ParaType, 2007). It is offered in 4 versions: Нормальное, Наклонное, Жирное, and Жирное наклонное (Regular, Oblique, Bold, and Bold Oblique).

I remember the German and the Hungarian compositors who worked for my company confused by the typographic mark-up done by our copy-preparers who always called Monotype Series 334 Таймс полужирный (Times Demi-bold), and the typesetters thought they wanted Series 421 (Times Semi-bold) which was not, and is still not, available in Cyrillic…

To answer your last question. Lebedev uses the old Soviet weight designations, slightly updated (the Regular is no longer called svetloye but normalnoye). Both he and ParaType use the neuter, not masculine, form.

As to the traditional German weight nomenclature, I vaguely remember that in one of the older threads Erik Spiekermann provided very enlightening comments on all those confusing designations, like dreiviertelfett, kräftig, schwer, and the like.

Nick Shinn's picture

Both he and ParaType use the neuter, not masculine, form.

Why then are you recommending the masculine form as being preferred these days?
ParaType and Lebedev are, AFAIK, the most prominent Russian online font stores.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Why then are you recommending the masculine form as being preferred these days?

Because the gender agreement between the adjective determinans (the style) and the noun determinatum (shrift, the name of the typeface)—often assumed—makes sense.


The examples of such usage are many, e.g., Латинский светлый, Академический полужирный узкий, Елизаветинский курсив, Альдине полужирный курсив, Коринна светлый и полужирный, Узкий Тонкий Гротеск, etc. Designations like Латинскийmжирноеn〉, or Академическийmполужирное узкоеn〉 look, and are, really odd.

ParaType and Lebedev are, AFAIK, the most prominent Russian online font stores.

Cannot tell for Lebedev, but ParaType is indeed very prominent.

Michel Boyer's picture

I just ran a little script on my Mac in /library/fonts on ttf fonts and I get everything in the masculine, but not a single Нормальный; I get 42 files using Обычный, and one using Прямой (AlBayan, which has no cyrillic character). In /library/fonts/microsoft, I get 14 times Обычный, no Нормальный.

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:

Given Maxim's initial explanation,

These days the masculine, not the neuter, form is preferred: полужирный, жирный—referring to шрифт 〈m〉 (‘type’), not to начертание 〈n〉 (‘style’, or ‘face’).

which makes a lot of sense to me, there is no contradiction between the masculine form being generally preferred nowadays and some foundries using the neuter form.

If you use the masculine form, you're saying that it is the "shrift" that is bold or italic - here's a bold Arial, there's an italic Arial. If you use the neuter form, you're saying that it's the weight of the typeface to which the attribute applies: here's Arial in a bold weight, here's Arial in an italic weight.

So, even if masculine is more popular in this age of Microsoft Word, the neuter may be more typographically correct - which would explain ParaType et al bucking the trend.

So now you can make an intelligent choice of which gender to use, based on what you want to say.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

there is no contradiction between the masculine form being generally preferred nowadays and some foundries using the neuter form.

One more confusing, gender-related, terminological aspect. In the Soviet times all text typeface names were femalized, e.g., from Латинскій (Berthold, 1901) to Латинская (later to Литературная), from Академическій (Berthold, 1910) to Академическая, from Елизаветинскій (Lehmann, 1907) to Елизаветинская, etc. That happened as a result of a governmental effort to regulate and standardise the ragtag, motley collection of fonts coming from various, formerly private, foundries (most of those fonts and matrices were simply destroyed). All text typefaces obtained a rank of a гарнитура—from German [Schrift]garnitur—that is, type family. Гарнитура and Garnitur are both feminine…

Maxim Zhukov's picture

À propos of полужирный. I have found that thread of February 2006 where the differences between the English and the German weight designations were discussed.

Nick Shinn's picture

So now you can make an intelligent choice of which gender to use, based on what you want to say.

Great.
All I wanted to know was the correct term.

I guess it’s like the situation with Regular/Normal/Book in English.

John Hudson's picture

I'd be inclined, following John's explanation, to use the neuter form when describing style or weight of a typeface, and the masculine form if the designation forms part of the name of a typeface. So 'Gill Sans bold' (neuter) but 'Gill Ultra' (masculine).

Maxim Zhukov's picture

I’d be inclined, following John’s explanation, to use the neuter form when describing style or weight of a typeface, and the masculine form if the designation forms part of the name of a typeface. So ‘Gill Sans bold’ (neuter) but ‘Gill Ultra’ (masculine).

That would look like

Гилл Сансmжирноеn〉, and
Гилл [Санс?] 〈mультра жирное n〉 , respectively.

And what about ‘Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed’? Would you want its Russian translation to look like

Гилл Сансmультра жирное узкое n〉?

Really?

John Hudson's picture

The Gill example may be confusing, because in digital fonts the typeface that was often labelled in specimens as 'Gill Ultra' is packaged as 'Gill Sans Ultra Bold'. I was looking for an example of a typeface whose actual name includes an adjective. Fette Fraktur might be a better example.

The alternative would be to make all parts of the font name masculine, regardless of whether they are part of the typeface name or merely weight/style descriptors. That would be fine, I suppose, in that it would result in naming as ambiguous as in English. :)

Maxim Zhukov's picture

I was looking for an example of a typeface whose actual name includes an adjective. Fette Fraktur might be a better example.

I am not sure… Unlike style descriptors, the typeface names normally do not get translated into other languages: they get transliterated. ‘Fette Fraktur’ would be one of the few exceptions: Жирнаяfфрактураf〉, not Фетте фрактур… Note the concord of жирная (determinans) with фрактура (determinatum). Some foundries offer Fette Fraktur in a number of styles (not weights), so, in line with the pattern you are proposing above, the listing of fonts developed by URW++ could probably look something like that:

Жирная фрактура Dfнормальноеn〉;
Жирная фрактура Dfнормальное инициальноеn〉 ; and
Жирная фрактура Dfоттененноеn〉 .

(I am not sure of the latter, though.)

The alternative would be to make all parts of the font name masculine, regardless of whether they are part of the typeface name or merely weight/style descriptors. That would be fine, I suppose, in that it would result in naming as ambiguous as in English.

Makes more sense to me… It’s just that the ambiguity of the English font naming is not gender-related.

Michel Boyer's picture

I guess it’s like the situation with Regular/Normal/Book in English.

In fact, all 42 occurrences of Обычный I found in /library/fonts as well as the 14 occurrences in /library/fonts/microsoft have "Regular" as the corresponding English (US) SubFamily name; as for AlBayan (an Arabic font) said to be "Прямой" , in is "Plain" in English (US), "Standard" in German, "Normaal" in Dutch, "Simple" in French and Spanish etc.

riccard0's picture

the situation with Regular/Normal/Book in English

You forgot “Roman” ;-)

Maxim Zhukov's picture

In fact, all 42 occurrences of Обычный I found in /library/fonts< as well as the 14 occurrences in /library/fonts/microsoft have "Regular" as the corresponding English (US) SubFamily name […]

FWIW. The significations of those descriptors may overlap a great deal. But if we look for what sets them apart, here are some of their distinctive meanings:

обычный ≈ usual
обыкновенный ≈ plain
прямой ≈ upright
нормальный ≈ normal
регулярный ≈ orderly
простой ≈ simple
Nick Shinn's picture

Interestingly, ἁπλά, the Greek for ‘plain’, refers to a typeface: Monotype ‘Greek 90’, not a style.

Nick Shinn's picture

Consider me convinced!

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