Ukrainian її — preferred presentation?

This combination was touched upon in an older thread, but I thought I’d single it out to see if I could get any native opinions.

What preferences do Ukrainians have for the handling of the pronoun її ?

Presumably it is not desirable to have the accents collide, but at what point is a large positive kern too large? How much should they need to clear?



Or conversely, is this combination really an appropriate candidate for ligation (as implied in that other thread)? Wouldn’t that undermine distinction from the common ії sequence? Or is context sufficient for Ukrainians to not be bothered by a ligated її ?

Thank you for any perspective from native readers.

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Comments

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    John — That’s what I meant by “candidate for ligation.” Would a two-i/three-dot ligature glyph be an acceptable representation?



    And yes, the same question would then hold true for Apache. (Thanks for pointing it out, Frode.)
  • Mathew Carter related that he was asked about this pair by Users of Verdana, and was told Three dots are not acceptable, a kerning pair for ïï is preferred. 
  • Alexander StetsiukAlexander Stetsiuk Posts: 36
    edited November 2015

    “Her” — [ Її ] is the only word found in an Ukrainian language dictionary with a pair of double letters [ї]

    Presumably it is not desirable to have the accents collide, but at what point is a large positive kern too large? How much should they need to clear?

    Yes, of course.

    Diacritics should not collide and produce illegible shapes. For that reason, careful fitting and kerning is required.

    By David Březina

    http://ilovetypography.com/2009/01/24/on-diacritics

    A solution is to move the dots closer to each other. And increase the kerning between two characters.

    Or conversely, is this combination really an appropriate candidate for ligation (as implied in that other thread)? Wouldn’t that undermine distinction from the common ії sequence? Or is context sufficient for Ukrainians to not be bothered by a ligated її ?

    I do not know. I would do it in some typefaces (condensed, black, display, posters, logo). It's like  (and as shown in the picture below): «Unusual, strongly authorial approach to the accents...» (© Filip Blažek)


    However, I like this version.

    This is a general problem of diacritic design.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,347
    and was told Three dots are not acceptable, a kerning pair for ïï is preferred. 

    Bloody readers.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    This is a general problem of diacritic design.
    Indeed. Which is why I am asking for input from native readers. Thanks for your contribution, Alexander.
  • Being a teacher in typeface design, I start my course with writing Textura and Humanist Roman. When I show my students that they can leave out the dot of the i and write the horizontal bow of the f a little bit longer instead and thus write an fi ligature, they usually think that this is a strange thing to do. Some of them even refuse to do so, because they think that this makes their writing illegible. Then I tell them that they have probably read several thousands of fi ligatures (and fl etc.) without ever having noticed. At this point many students think that I am telling them nonsense, a fairy tale or try to fool them. Then I tell them to take a closer look at their favourite books and magazines and check out the letter combinations with f. When they return to the classroom one week later, most of them are astonished about the fact that they had never noticed so many ligatures. And these are people that are more visually oriented than others. That’s why I think that many discussions on ligatures like fi are fairly overrated. I think we should do ligatures like fi and fl for typefaces which have a relatively long bow on the f. When the bow is short, like in Frutiger and Univers, a ligature may not be necessary. Ligatures are not an aim, they are a means to solve the problem of cluttering, or, in the case of ïï, to avoid a gap that is far too wide.
  • Many (if not most) Ukrainian designers prefer to ligate її this or other way – either by creating a three-dot ligature, or by displacing four dots so that they don’t collide. The same applies to ’ї.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 594
    Displacing the dots sounds like a good idea, although I may have been working on too much Nastaliq Arabic.  :)



  • That sounds sensible, John, but then again, is the confusion of ії with їі really ever an issue? Maybe Ukrainian readers prefer a clean presentation of unambiguity? Andriy's post certainly suggests that to me...
    @Andriy Konstantynov, do you have some good examples?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,347
    ії is relatively common, so when I see three dots over two sticks, that is how I tend to read it (I am mostly sight-reading for singing). The four-dot її sequence is rare, but I don’t recall seeing it other than as the feminine object pronoun, in which context it is difficult to mistake for anything else.

    I would also like to see examples from Andriy.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 962
    edited April 1
    It would seem to me that one way to get an answer to this question would be to look at fonts designed by native Ukrainian speakers. But the fact that i with one dot can both precede and follow the two-dot i, as well as two of the two-dot version occurring in succession, would certainly seem to mitigate against a three-dot ligature.
    Remember that a lot of available printed Ukrainian literature was produced under the pre-1991 orthography which intentionally did not fit the language, and one has a reason why depending on decoding from context may not work.
    I've found one example of a font:
    and it illustrates something that has been forgotten: just because lower-case I has a dot over it doesn't mean that it isn't, otherwise, a small-capital form in Cyrillic, like other lower-case letters, at least in most typefaces with serifs. The serifs provide some extra distance between the stems of consecutive lower-case letters I that also mitigates against the three-dot ligature.
    However, the typeface used is Ahellya, and its designer, although he lives in Ukraine, may be a native speaker of Russian rather than Ukrainian, so what I could find hastily may not be the best example.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited April 1
    and it illustrates something that has been forgotten: just because lower-case I has a dot over it doesn't mean that it isn't, otherwise, a small-capital form in Cyrillic, like other lower-case letters, at least in most typefaces with serifs.
    Uh-oh, I've always used an /idotless/ as the basis. Do I need to change that? (I do have an /er-cy/ with flat serifs in Cormorant since I thought the /p/ didn't fit well with the other letters...)
    And do i have to align the dots on a horizontal? My Latin /dieresiscomb/ is lower than the /dotaccentcomb/...
    Edit: Yeah, that's better.


  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 679

    Uh-oh, I've always used an /idotless/ as the basis. Do I need to change that?

    And do i have to align the dots on a horizontal?
    My immediate guess would be:
    (a) no (a smallcap I is not how this letter presents in most modern fonts, so choosing this design will likely make your font an outlier), and
    (b) yes!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 962
    I see that you're right:
    I should have looked for a book in Ukrainian, rather than download a font that turned out to be an outlier.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,347
    Remember that a lot of available printed Ukrainian literature was produced under the pre-1991 orthography which intentionally did not fit the language

    I think that is overstating the case considerably. The 1990 orthographic reform consisted of reintroducting ґ to write a hard /ɡ/ sound mostly found in foreign loan words and names.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 962
    Remember that a lot of available printed Ukrainian literature was produced under the pre-1991 orthography which intentionally did not fit the language

    I think that is overstating the case considerably. The 1990 orthographic reform consisted of reintroducting ґ to write a hard /ɡ/ sound mostly found in foreign loan words and names.

    There were a lot of other changes made to Ukrainian orthography in 1933, with the aim of bringing the language closer to Russian. It is possible that those changes... succeded in their aim, if they weren't also reversed in 1991.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,347
    edited April 2
    There were a lot of other changes made to Ukrainian orthography in 1933
    There were a lot of spelling changes, to be sure, but the only alphabet change introduced in the 1933 orthography was removal of ґ. Otherwise it is identical to the 1928 alphabet.

    Most of the spelling changes affect transliteration of foreign loan words and names, e.g. pre-1933 spelling distinguished use of в and б in transliterating β depending on how a word of Greek origin had come into Ukrainian, while the 1933 orthography used б everywhere. Yes, that kind of change was to bring Ukrainian transliteration practices in line with Russian and standardise Soviet lexicography, notably in the spelling of place names both within and outside the Soviet Union, but it is a stretch to claim that the 1933 Ukrainian orthography ‘intentionally did not fit the language’. Some of the 1928 transliteration practices were retained in diaspora publishing, and have been recently restored in Ukraine.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 962
    edited April 2
    Changing the transliteration of foreign loan words for uniformity would be a legitimate change (at least those that had not become part of the language). However, included in the spelling reform of Ukrainian were changes to grammatical endings, to bring them closer to those of Russian. Your comment is the first time I have heard that the 1933 changes were this limited. Given other events of the time, of course, it would be only natural to put the worst face on the spelling reform as well.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,347
    Oh the 1933 orthography was definitely and explicitly intended to target what the Stalinist regime identified as Ukrainian nationalism and bourgeois Polish influence (historically, Ukraine had been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), and yes, involved changes to declensions and a lot of vowel changes, the impact of which isn’t always clear to me and, fair enough, might be considered more damaging than I considered. Thanks for prompting me to dig deeper. Also, it may be that I am more familiar with emigré and religious publishing, so have not seen so much of the Soviet orthography in use or understood all its changes.
  • I switched back to the i-shaped /i-cy/ after correspondence with my Cyrillic advisor.
    BTW, I don't suppose any of these alternate solutions will work...?


  • I’m sorry it look me so long to answer. By “displacing” I meant horizontal displacement, not putting the dots one above another (if we’re speaking about paragraph type). But in a display typeface anything may work actually.
  • Hi Andriy,
    so is the second pair up there workable, or too wide? I don't think I can make the dots tighter without fusing them together at smaller print sizes.
    I think I'll keep the vertically stacked /yi/ and /yi_yi/ as display alternates, then. :smile:
  • the down-serif of ц  is too heavy for my taste.
    All playful variations of  ïï  I would leave to actual display fonts, in ordinary text settings it’s only going to distract the reader’s eye.

    The left half of O is too light.
  • Hi Andriy,
    so is the second pair up there workable, or too wide? I don't think I can make the dots tighter without fusing them together at smaller print sizes.
    I think I'll keep the vertically stacked /yi/ and /yi_yi/ as display alternates, then. :smile:
    I personally find it too wide due to the excess of negative space in the middle. In your case, I would either go with three dots or allow ugly collision (as ugly as it looks, we see that all the time, so that’s not something we would pay special attention to).
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited April 10
    So three dots is acceptable? I'm happy to switch to that, then.
    Incidentally, do you need to distinguish iï and ïi, or can those also be symmetric?
    («We're used to fonts looking shitty» is not an acceptable solution IMHO!)
  • Like this? (i yi, yi i, yi_yi)

  • edited April 10
    They are hard to mix up: її only appears as a separate word (though very frequent); -ії never appears separately; їі is virtually nonexistent except possible(?) transliterations of foreign names that contain -jii-/-yii-.
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