Monday, October 10, 2005

Combining Diacritics

Here is a line from Alcestis' famous speech to her husband before she dies. From Euripides' Alcestis.

"Admetus, you see the things I suffer; and now before I die I mean to tell you what I wish."

Click on the above images to see the display of this line as I saw it in Firefox, with an undefined font. The first is precomposed and the second is decomposed. Both show vowels of uneven size and decomposed shows a lagging perispomeni.

Ἄδμηθ', ὁρᾷς γὰρ τἀμὰ πράγμαθ' ὡς ἔχει, λέξαι θέλω σοι πρὶν θανεῖν ἃ βούλομαι.

Ἄδμηθ', ὁρᾷς γὰρ τἀμὰ πράγμαθ' ὡς ἔχει, λέξαι θέλω σοι πρὶν θανεῖν ἃ βούλομαι

In the Greek text which I have posted here with a defined Tahoma font, the first is decomposed with combining diacritics, and the second is precomposed. In the preview window they look identical and correct.


Blogger Denis said...

The Tahoma font doesn't seem to have any mark tags or positioning table. Diacritics are heuristicly placed by whatever font renderer you are using.

To my knowledge there is no freely available font with the proper positioning of the Greek characters and diacritics your are using. Code2000 might do it, but I'm not able to get a propre result on my system.

In theory this greek diacritic positioning shouldn't be a font issue, because font renderers should know a character with a diacritic is equivalent to a precomposed character.

Unfortunately IPA and many Latin script languages need correct diacritics positioning for characters that do not exist in precomposed forms. Some very few fonts might do it on a very few systems.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will have to send me greater deatil on this, since I am starting from scratch in my knowledge of how fonts are rendered - maybe in an email.

I am ready to move into this new area now since I have already adjusted to my new image editing software for my pics and have installed Firefox as recommended by Simon, Thanks.

6:52 PM  

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