ELIZABETH J PYATT: September 2010 Archives

Hardcore Medieval Fonts + Bonus Glyph DuJour

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The title says "hardcore", so you may be wondering how I am defining hardcore. Medieval specialists will know that manuscripts from that period contain a bewildering variety of abbreviations and special symbols which varied widely from region to region. And if you had to painstakingly write out documents with quill pens on parchement, you would look for shortcuts too (kind of like texters with only a numeric keypad look for shortcuts).

One medieval manuscript abbreviation still in use is the ampersand (&) which began life as a quick way to write Latin et 'and'. But there were plenty of others such as the LATIN CAPITAL LETTER K WITH STROKE AND DIAGONAL STROKE (U+A744) as shown in the image at the end of the entry.

A variety of medieval character have been recently added to the Latin Extended D block in Unicode (and more could be added according to the Medieval Font Unicode Initiative/MUFI )...but font support is still catching up. Even venerated older medieval Unicode fonts are missing the newer additions to Unicode. If you do want to display these characters, you may want to try these fonts:

  • Palemonas MUFI
  • Quivira - this is a decent "mega font" which also includes Oń°am and Runes (manuscript type).
  • Roman Cyrillic Std - this font and related fonts also include good Cyrillic support

Professional typographers and publishers may also want to investigate Andron. In addition to the characters mentioned, these fonts will also include Greek, Cyrillic and phonetic characters.

If you want to find updates about Unicode fonts, I would recommend tracking MUFI, which is an academic consortium focusing on Unicode for medieval texts, including the development of appropriate fonts. Unfortunately, you may not be able to quickly find the original usage of LATIN CAPITAL LETTER K WITH STROKE AND DIAGONAL STROKE. A puzzle for another time...

Glyph Sample K with lines through each leg

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About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage (ejp10@psu.edu) for a profile.

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