Ring and acute over an A

Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 245
edited December 2018 in Technique and Theory
I'm looking for opinions on how best to address the height problems with the A Ring Acute.

There seems to be at least a half dozen workarounds for squeezing it down. In lots of fonts, the diacritics are just stacked up with the apparent intention of letting the user contend with the composition crashing into whatever might be above it. I'm sort of inclined to take this approach myself.

Do the Danes or Norwegians or whomever actually use this character? I don't think I've ever encountered it running loose in the wild anywhere.


  • Bhikkhu PesalaBhikkhu Pesala Posts: 210
    edited December 2018
    I am not sure which languages use it. The Letter Database does not list any. However, it is a common problem in Vietnamese that uses a lot of stacking diacritics. 

    If you don't wish to take the trouble to design them correctly, don't include them in your fonts. If you want to support more languages, I recommend moving the top diacritics to the side of the lower diacritic to save vertical space, and avoid ugly clashes with descenders in the line above. 

    This is how I design those glyphs in my font Garava, and others.

    A Vietnamese user with whom I had some correspondence, told me that the preferred position of the top diacritic is on the right, so A circumflex acute, and A circumflex grave look like this: 

    Initially, I had placed the grave accent on the left because I thought it looked better. 

  • Bhikkhu Pesala — Thank you. Yours is a wonderful example of still another way this glyph can be configured. Perhaps there is no single, preferred way of handling the problem.

    In Vietnamese, the use of multiple diacritics makes the problem more manageable in that it's a commonplace characteristic of the written language.

    The A ring acute is less manageable in the sense that it's a one-off, outlier glyph with an incompatible height to all the others in the alphabets of whatever Scandinavian countries might use it (if they use it at all). 

    I think your solution of positioning more compact diacritics side-by-side might be best, but I have little idea what might be an acceptable composition to those (possibly non-existent) people who actually use it. Could be, no one really cares.  ;)
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited December 2018
    I have only ever seen it once in a “non-specialist” context: for marking (what I assume was) tones in a prayer book. This use is not according to any official Norwegian orthography.

    Including the aringacute, presupposes that you also include a bunch of other specialist characters not normally included in retail fonts. If you, however, do decide that completing a range of characters only hardcore font engineers have ever heard of is crucial to your fontz, this letter is so extremely rare that you better make it look as unassuming as possible: I.e. no merging of ring and acute. Acute above ring, not on the side.

  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited December 2018
    Also, I have never seen it in specialist use, and Dansk sprognævn had no idea when I called them, but apparently you could use it to transcribe Old Norse to Danish.
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited December 2018
    [admins please delete]
  • Sorry, I had people arriving just as I was sending the last comment, so it got sent in a raw state. I should have added, apropos of the "transliterating Old Norse" thing, that aringacute is not in the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative spec, which is especially rich in characters needed by Nordicists.
  • …  aringacute is not in the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative spec …
    That’s right. Given the fact that this guideline has been very thoroughly compiled over several years, with contributions by over a dozen specialists in the field, I dare to say if it’s not in there than you may safely drop it.
  • Plus, if for some reason someone needs it, there is always mark-to-mark.
  • There was such a discussion some years ago. Apparently it is only used in dictionaries and children's books.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 761
    edited June 2020

    Is the ring on the letter without the acute suppose to touch the uppercase A, or should it float?

    The ring itself, when the font is not too fancy, I am doing thus: two Latin breves welded together at the horns. (The outer contour is a perfect circle, the inner one is an ellipse).
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    You can touch. More display-y, and you’d typically not do so in text. It is acceptable if it does, but a decent multilingual text face should have a ring that can work consistently above/below all letters. All those permutations tend to force a more uniform appearance across the accent set.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    There was such a discussion some years ago. Apparently it is only used in dictionaries and children's books.

    If it is actually used in dictionaries and children's books, though, then, provided one knows if there are other characters also so used in Danish and/or Norwegian, it is legitimate to include it in a font. After all, that's typically where stress accents are used in Russian, or vowel points are used in Hebrew.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 761
    edited June 2020
    @John Savard
    I did not grow up there, I was only quoting from memory. :smile:

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,091
    I did not grow up there, I was only quoting from memory.

    I understood that you were noting what someone else had said the last time this issue was discussed. But that's fine. I took a quick look to see if I could find examples; I could not. As the acute accent isn't used normally in either Danish or Norwegian, my guess is that A ring acute results from the use of the acute accent to indicate the stressed syllable in a word.
    In that case, one would also do O slash acute and O and U umlaut acute and AE digraph/ligature acute and so on to cover all similar cases.
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