Naturally, all of this reminds me of the dialogue in Dwiggins’s fanciful account of the creation of Electra — his imaginary conversation with Kobodaishi, “Patron Saint of the lettering art”:
He said: “The trouble with all you people is that you are always trying to reproduce Jenson’s letters, or John de Spira or some of those Venetian people. You are always going back three or four hundred years and trying to do over again what they did then. What’s the idea?”
“Well” I said, “we think those types were pretty good—about the best that anybody ever made, and we’d like to make some like them.”
“But why like them?” he said. “You don’t live in Venice in 1500. This is 1935. Why don’t you do what they did: take letter shapes and see if you can’t work them into something that stands for 1935? Why doll yourself up in Venetian fancy-dress costume and go dodging around in airplanes and automobiles dressed up that way?”
(Having designed Electra, Dwiggins went on to continue also using Janson, Caslon, Baskerville, Bodoni, et al., types in his own book work, of course. ;-)
Historically, the “art
work representing images of letters, numbers and other characters” was
considered the “typeface” and the means of reproducing those images —
i.e., the physical metal sorts, or the photofilm negative, or the
computer file, etc. — was considered the “font.” (In American English,
Since the advent of desktop publishing, however, the
term “font” has gradually evolved, through vernacular use, to be applied
now to the intangible design of a typeface also (much to the annoyance
of some of us old-timers). Thus the rise of the more specific term “font
software” to mean the original, narrower sense of the actual font file
and computer code.
In your case, it sounds like Russian law
allows you to protect the actual typeface designs as well as the font
software. Which U.S. copyright does not.
If a font does indeed provide for African languages, then I think it does makes sense to have the capital “nj” form as the default, and localize for the relevant Sami languages.
But to adequately cover African languages, one needs several less common characters — such as ɓɗɖɲƴ, just to show a few.
Extended Latin character sets that cover the majority of European languages will easily cover
three of the four Latin-using Sami languages with the simple inclusion of ŋ. If the char set is primarily aimed at that standard target, then I think it makes sense to have the “NJ” form as the default.
If you want to provide a capital “nj” form for those few African languages that can get by with just the ŋ and not the rest of the pan-African set, I would be more inclined to make it the alternate.
but still if it can't begin a word, distinguishability between the upper- and lower- case forms is somewhat less of a priority.
I don’t know why on earth you jumped to that conclusion!?
Here are just a handful of words starting with һ taken randomly from the front page of the Башҡорт wikipedia site: һаулыҡ һаҡлау һәләте һәр һәм һуңғы һуғыштың — including the very common һәр “every” and һәм “and.”