Blackletter Questions

agisaak's picture

Hi all,

I was wondering whether the terms 'Schwabacher' and 'Bâtarde' are synonymous, or whether there are differences between the two, and if so what would those differences be?

Also, in mathematical typesetting where fraktur letters are called for, would it be acceptable to substitute a bâtarde (specifically, Duc de Berry)?


John Hudson's picture

Schwabacher and Bâtarde are fairly closely related, within the larger category of blackletter, but are distinct enough to exist as separate sub-categories. This is especially true in manuscript, in which Bâtarde styles tend towards greater informality and faster writing. In type, the similarities may be more obvious, as the Bâtarde will tend to be formalised. To get a feel for the differences, I recommend doing Google image searches on the two terms.

Conventionally, use of blackletter in mathematics had tended to be a fairly light form of fraktur. A Bâtarde along the lines of the Duc de Berry type would be appropriate weight, but I couldn't say whether the letterforms would be readily accepted by mathematicians. Remember, in the context of mathematics, these characters are being used a symbols, not as regular text, so it is important that they correspond sufficiently to expectations.

typerror's picture

You could not have gotten a better answer from a calligrapher :-)

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Which mathematical symbols are supposed to be fraktur glyphs?

LexLuengas's picture

So what about handwritten lecture notes in mathematics?

LexLuengas's picture

Good question. Since most mathematics students don’t carry their broad-nib alongside a bottle of ink to their lectures, they often use Sütterlin to reproduce fraktur denotations.

agisaak's picture

Hi John,

Thanks for your detailed reply. It was definitely helpful. Sorry I didn't respond earlier.


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