Macron on Top

Bhikkhu PesalaBhikkhu Pesala Posts: 210
edited May 2017 in Technique and Theory
Looking at Tahoma, I see that it places the macron over the L dot ($1E38) centred horizontally. 

I prefer the macron to be to the far left, centred over the upright of the L. 

I also use a narrower macron to compensate for the narrow stroke, and in lowercase ($1E39), which is centred. Likewise, with ī macron and Ī macron. 

Should Macron be Left or Centre? Obviously it should not be on the far right.


  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,356
    I really think it should be aligned with the dot. But that's because I don't know what it might collide with on the left. Unless you can locate some Sanskrit transliteration samples, there's no telling what might slam into that thing. I suppose if it's a slab serif typeface or you've got a short macron, it might have enough clearance.

    I prefer the look of it centered over the dot.
  • Bhikkhu PesalaBhikkhu Pesala Posts: 210
    edited May 2017
    The list at fileformat is revealing.

    Times New Roman cannot decide what to do. The Regular and Bold have the macron centred, while the italic and bold italic have it centred over the stem. 

    It does need a shorter macron accent to avoid possible clashes, but it looks much better IMO. Only text in All Capitals could cause a clash, and AFAIK, L dot macron won't ever be preceded by a consonant even in all caps text. A, E, I, O, U are unlikely to be a problem. 

    I download a PDF of the Brill Typeface user guide and notes. That looks very helpful.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 707
    I know a number of people are rather hoping that the macron is aligned to the left, but I think you'll find that in practice it naturally finds its way towards the center.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Does it really matter? Isn’t ॡ a largely theoretical phoneme anyway? Are there really any Vedic or Classical words using this vowel? And then, are they ever written in all-caps? Is it even in Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī?

    Okay, maybe if you’re setting an all-caps grid of the transliterated Sanskrit alphabet . . . but really?

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,863
     Isn’t ॡ a largely theoretical phoneme anyway?
    My contact at Tuebingen, who consulted on the diacritic set for the Murty fonts, identified ḹ as 'very rare'. 
  • Nice work John. However rarely used a particular letter may be, if it is included in one's fonts, it should look right. That's the font designer's job. It is a time-consuming task to fix all those rare glyphs like L acute. Any automated process is likely to position them incorrectly for some fonts or font styles. 
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 992
    I can’t tell anymore who’s being typographic and who’s being political.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    However rarely used a particular letter may be, if it is included in one's fonts, it should look right.
    I don’t disagree. Sorry I sounded so dismissive yesterday. I guess I woke up cranky.

    I think the treatment in John’s sample certainly looks nice aesthetically. However, I’m not sure that I agree that this is a better approach in a general context.

    In the “very rare” case where you would encounter ḹ in a word, it would presumably be a grammatical form of a root with vocalic ḷ where the vowel is lengthened, and thus the macron.

    Personally, I am not convinced that this kind of macron treatment over the capital stem adequately conveys lengthening in the same way that the macron operates visually over other vowels.

    But given the stem-oriented treatment of tilde and acute over L in the Murty fonts, I suppose this macron placement was pretty much logically required.

    In partial defense of yesterday’s post: Sure, it should look good and appropriate, but I don’t think that in such a rare case as this there is anything objectively “right.” Both approaches are probably equally defensible.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,098
    I prefer to centre the cap accents, on the principle that accented cap letters will more often appear in the interior of words in all-cap settings, and the accents should centre in the width between adjacent letters, just as the glyph they modify does. 
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,863
    That's certainly a valid approach. As illustrated, though, it works best with a fairly long macron. Smaller marks can appear optically unanchored.
  • Bhikkhu PesalaBhikkhu Pesala Posts: 210
    edited May 2017
    I received an email from  Basit Ali cc Syed Ahsan at saying that TNR was OK in all typstyles (i.e. with the macron aligned over the stem).

    I checked my copies, and found that only Times Ext Roman was correct. Times New Roman and Bold both have the macron centred over the L, as at, which is inconsistent with the italic and bold italic. 
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 277
    "Times Ext Roman" isn't a font Microsoft distributes.
  • On this page it says that it was distributed by Microsoft, but has now been replaced by an updated version of TNR with the full Latin Extended Additional glyph coverage:

    Times Extended Roman (TXR) was promulgated by Microsoft during the
    early 2000's as a kind of stopgap measure due to the broad
    implementation of Unicode throughout their system. Times New Roman
    (TNR) did not yet cover the Unicode Latin Extended Additional area
    that included many essential fonts needed by scholars of Buddhism,
    most notably underdot characters. TXR was released with coverage of
    this area.
    However, with the release of Windows Vista and Office 2007 (and of
    course, Win7 and Office 2010), Microsoft updated TNR to cover these
    areas (and more, and with more refined technology), making TXR
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