Latinized Greek

13

Comments

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 16
    antonis said:
    My opinion as a native Greek is this: Latinization is the use of z for zeta, n for eta, p for rho, x for chi and inverted y for lambda. More or less that's it. Artistic choices is not latinization. Serifs should not be considered latinization.

    I don't think that I disagree with you, although it might seem that way.
    The kind of Greek typefaces that I regard as Latinized will probably have no other choice than to use p for rho and x for chi. Instead of using n for eta, though, they may acknowledge the shape of the letter by turning the right pillar into a descender.
    Serifs on the capital letters are definitely not Latinization. In my opinion, a lower-case with serifs that is not Latinized is exactly what Greek needs, but I also think it's not easy to achieve.
    Let's take eta. Imagine an attempt to devise a lower-case for Greek that looks like the Latin lower-case for, oh, say, Scotch Roman or Century Expanded. The right column has become a descender. So it's not Latinized?
    In my ignorance as someone who is not a speaker of Greek, native or otherwise, if the bottom of that descender still has serifs pointing both left and right, it says "Latinized" to me.
    This is not to say that this is a forbidden design choice; in a display typeface, a certain playful take on Latin elements is perfectly legitimate. But in the context of a typeface meant for general body copy use, not intended to be remarkable, it is enough of a change to the function of that part of the letter to raise suspicions.
    My statement "Serifs on the capital letters are definitely not Latinization" may need some clarification. This includes the capital letters of Porson Greek, although they are clearly modeled precisely after Roman capitals. Why? Well, the shapes of Greek capital letters obviously are perfectly compatible with those of Latin capital letters. Alpha and A, Rho and P, and so on. So the entire corpus of Latin-alphabet type styles belongs naturally to the Greek upper-case. It isn't necessary to do anything strange or unnatural to Xi or Sigma to make capital versions that are stylistically compatible with any Roman typeface, so to call that Latinization would just be silly, in my opinion.
    On the other hand, the Greek shapes of Greek lower-case are only known from cursive and sans-serif typefaces, or so it seems to us outside Greece. Porson's Greek and New Hellenic both clearly have a proper Greek lower-case.
    If one says, well, Porson's Greek lower-case is cursive, so I want to save that for my italics, and I want a lower-case Greek that fits perfectly with the lower-case of Times Roman or Century Expanded... that in itself is not Latinization either.
    It is when you do unnatural things to the letters (i.e., upside-down y for lambda) that it's Latinization. What concerns me is that nobody - in Greece or outside - seems to know how to fit the Greek lower-case into the Latin design vocabulary without Latinization - doing improper things with the shapes of the letters. That could mean Greek lower-case is incompatible with Latin design vocabulary, or simply that the inner nature of the letters of the Greek lower-case alphabet is not yet well-enough understood, and some future Greek typeface designer will understand the true spirit of the Greek lower-case alphabet well enough to do this right.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    > how to fit the Greek lower-case into the Latin design vocabulary without Latinization
    and also the old classic,
    > to make it look even, we had to make it uneven
    The question is how to make it look non-latinized while actually making it latinized. :D
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    edited January 17
    doing improper things with the shapes of the letters
    Challenge accepted.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 17
    And not only do the letters retain their authentic Greek shape, but the style of the typeface, instead of slavishly following a Latin model, is of an independent character, a little bit like the traditional style of Irish.
    Actually, I'm not entirely confident that eta, kappa, and mu have really been given the right shape, but I'm not in the mood to quibble about this fantastic achievement. But, so that no one suffers from curiosity, here is a crude drawing of the forms I was expecting for those three letters:
    So basically I was thinking that hewing a bit closer to the traditional cursive model would be preferable, but I don't really trust my judgment on this.
  • Searching for more information about Romulus Greek led me to this interesting article on the general topic by Robert Bringhurst.
    Thanks for this link @John Savard! Does anyone have a sample of the Cyrillic that Robert Granjon cut at Rome in 1582, based on Russian and Serbian models, that Robert Bringhurst talks about in the article? I would love to see that.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    edited January 17
    @John Savard All good catches, these were precisely the three glyphs that got the least love and attention during my 5-hour fling.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 17
    As to gamma, zeta, xi, phi, and psi, I assume you simply chose valid Greek models with which I am less familiar. The conventional cursive forms of at least the first three of those letters indeed don't lend themselves well to a Romanesque treatment.
    My earlier post on the question of "what is Latinization" may have been too long, so I will try again.
    Hrant Papazian's icon, as I'm sure many people know, is an Armenian lower-case letter, as it appears in traditional Armenian typefaces. In most contemporary Armenian typefaces, however, it looks precisely like a Latin lower-case "h". That is a clear example of Latinization, in the sense of gratuitous changes in letter forms.
    For historical reasons, the development of Greek typography missed out on a few hundred years of development, in contrast to Latin-alphabet typography.
    As a result, Greek typography has fewer resources to draw upon, and so there is an understandable temptation - or even a need - to make use of the considerable resources of Latin-alphabet typography so that people publishing texts or doing ad layout in Greek can fully keep up with modern typography with a full set of stylistic resources.
    That isn't a bad thing; there's no way to stop it, and if you did, Greek publications would have a look suggesting that Greece was a very backward place. The state of much non-Latin typography in, say, the immediate post-war era suggests what the result would be.
    So I'm not against non-Latin scripts in general accessing the wealth of stylistic innovation in the plethora of Latin typefaces even though that is also a cultural influence due to Latin-alphabet dominance. Getting to fully autonomous type design (as a relatively easy and common option, I do not claim it would ever be desirable for it to be universal) within most non-Latin scripts is a battle for another day (but not one I've forgotten about, see my last paragraph).
    That's why I define "Latinization" narrowly, not to include all the impact on the typography of a language due to the burgeoning dominance of English and the other European languages, but simply where the actual alphabet itself is distorted to make it more like the Latin alphabet, so that it's easier to borrow a typeface.
    If the alphabet itself is distorted to become Latin-like, then later on, when the language community in question is in a position to devote resources to a larger amount of its own type design, the foundation for type design reflecting the cultural genius of the script is lost; the skeleton to which garments are being given, now essentially equivalent to Latin, no longer is best complemented by a different style of garment. That's why changes to the script itself are a particularly serious cultural loss.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    edited January 17
    > As to gamma, zeta, xi, phi, and psi, I assume you simply chose valid Greek models with which I am less familiar.
    As for psi, yes, I believe this form can be found especially in calligraphy. Not sure whether the ascender is necessary.
    As for zeta and xi (and sigma), I based them on their handwritten versions. But suppressing the ascender on zeta was my invention, aimed to harmonize it with tau — maybe unnecessarily — but also eliminate a too robust ascender that is alien to Latin (except for some really robust f's).

    Note how kappa can very well have what appears like an ascender. I wouldn't see adding one as Latinization, and there's precedent in Cyrillic too. And about using p for rho... The only argument against it (save for scientific Greek) is the supposedly circular motion that belies the Greek script.
    This form of gamma is my own creation, inspired by cursive nu (that can be identical to Latin r), and intended to relate to the majuscule better. Sort of a step back from the deterioration introduced by the hasty monks. Questionable if it's better, as it introduces typically-Latin spacing problems, but here it is.
    Closing the counter of phi is the hardest to justify.
  • antonisantonis Posts: 7
    I have only one (long) comment to add. John Savard wrote that the serifs on  the right column of eta is Latinization (if I understood that right). Why? What is a line of thought that proves this? To me it is not and I will explain. It has to do (I think) with the idea that Greek lowercase is essentially cursive. I think there is a confusion here. Cursive is the writing of monks in the 9th century CE. This writing was a quick way to copy the
    all-capitals texts of the ancient period, because they had business with the western people how wanted to study. The monks essentially "counterfeited" the writings in an attempt to keep up the supply of copies. From this, lowercase for Greek was born. The Greek lowercase (for those who do not know) starts the 9th century AD/CE.

    Now here is the catch: Do we consider this "Greek" and why? Personally I believe the answer should be a resounding NO. The people that did that were not Greeks, they hated everything relating to the past (for their reasons) except the money they got by selling copies, and if you dared to call them Greek they were heavily insulted. I do not want to take this to politics or religion. However, how would you react if I say "Today people often Latinize Greek and in the 9th century the monks Arabic-ized the Greek writing system" ? And now I have to accept this Arabic style as "Greek" because it was accepted as being Greek in the western world.

    So , No, I will not do this. I will take this path: The lowercase is well established. I will not defend the all-caps writing. So I accept the basic letterform. From this point on I will add
    artistic elements that at first are not far from the capitals seen on Greek epigraphs in the museums around the world. I will develop this further, I will not restrict myself to the ancients, but this will be my starting point. Not the sloppiness of the monks.

    This is why LucidaSans is such a big success in Greece. It has the basic model with the
    endings of the ancient capitals, without being a cheap reproduction. People feel this and they choose it again and again. And this is why designs from respectable sources, say Adobe Garamond premier pro, has no use in Greece, or only in a very small percentage (very conservative publishers).

    This is the value of the Athenais font. Not the design I did. The fact that it justifies fully both the serifs and the swash. And if you find yourself in Athens you can see the epigraph in the road to the Acropolis.

    So, yes, I will accept the serifs on the right column of eta. It is just fine if it matches the whole picture. Add this: Latin did not have an independent from Greek designs history. Both Latin and Greek have common roots.

    Are there people in Greece against the above? Yes. Their profile is conservative people, very close to the church plus people in typography convinced by the westerners that Greek must be cursive no matter what.









  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    edited January 17
    Even though that is not its true origin, I've always viewed eta as somewhat of an i_i ligature, not dissimilar to the way double ii was written in blackletter (the second one as what now is j):

    This is somewhat crowded though. But my initial take was this:
    To sum up, possibilities are endless. One question, @antonis, do you think the above could find some real-world use? And if so, where?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 17
    antonis said:
    It has to do (I think) with the idea that Greek lowercase is essentially cursive. I think there is a confusion here. Cursive is the writing of monks in the 9th century CE. 
    I think I see your point: Greek cursive originated from the writing of monks in the West, where the Latin alphabet was in use, under the Roman Catholic church, rather than having been developed by Greeks. So, just because we see it used for Greek, it's ahistorical to think that it really represents something authentically Greek.
    This is information of which I was ignorant, so I thank you for letting me learn something important.
    Given that Cyril and Methodius were Greeks, one could therefore make a case for claiming that a hyper-Latinized Greek modeled after Cyrillic would be the truly authentic Greek! Hrant would have an issue with that, because he is not happy with what Peter the Great did to the original Cyrillic, however. So one would have to start from the original Old Church Slavonic letterforms (Glagolitic doesn't bear thinking about...) rather than modern Latinized Cyrillic.
    antonis said:
    So , No, I will not do this. I will take this path: The lowercase is well established. I will not defend the all-caps writing.
    But perhaps you are wise to reach the same conclusion as I effectively reach by another path: this way lies madness.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,733
    @Nikola Kostic

    Does anyone have a sample of the Cyrillic that Robert Granjon cut at Rome in 1582, based on Russian and Serbian models, that Robert Bringhurst talks about in the article?
    See new discussion: Granjon's late Cyrillics.
  • antonisantonis Posts: 7
    edited January 17
    @John Savard Yes, this is my point but mainly for the monks inside Greece, especially Athos monasteries. They had ancient books in basements to rot and eaten up by rats. Until they found out that they could make money by selling handritten copies. Then an "industry" started were they minimized the time consumed to copy by writing the capitals from the original in a cursive way. It was that time that the lowercase was born. This writing was viewed in the west as "Greek". But as you wrote and it now evident, this is completely ahistoric.

    When I heard that Garamond (of Adobe) would include Greek I was expecting a massive improvement of Microsoft's which is usable and has been used in Greece. When I saw the result (which of course was (I guess) close to Garamonds ideas (Microsoft Garamond has nothing to do probably with Garamond himeslf)) I was dissapointed. Most people who see it today in Greece, say "ah, this is ecclesiastical, who cares?" On the contrary, Minion and Myriad are successful.

    @Adam Jagosz Hmm I think yes but for something "young". Say the title and the menu of a cafe targeting very young people, especially if you give them a slant.
  • John Savard, here are  couple of thoughts on the topic from me, as a user of the greek script but mostly as a designer of greek alphabets:


    In type design, as far as the capital letters are concerned, Greek and Latin have very much in common. When designing a typeface, for Greek capitals, the “adoption” of the Roman forms is rather easy and can have a satisfying result. In the case of sans serif geometric letterforms things are even more appropriate to the ductus of greek letters, since they are strongly based on clear geometric forms. 

    The problems begin on the design of the minuscule letters. In Greek, the evolution from capital to minuscule forms was completely different from that of the Latin. Different writing tools, extensive use of abbreviations and ligatures –maybe due to a general eastern influence– created an alphabet that is rather fluent and does not have serifs, in contrast to the Latin, whose forms are more stable and fit the capitals appropriately. 

    Minuscule greek letters evolved in the Byzantine era. The fall of Constantinople and the beginning of the Ottoman occupation of Greece –happening a few years before Gutenberg’s invention of movable type– had as a consequence the lack of a parallel evolution of typography in Greece. Greek types were designed mostly by foreign typographers and publishers, although based on the writing hands of immigrant greek scholars. 

    The designs by the likes of Garamond, Didot or Porson are exceptional models for greek types. But the lack of strong typographic heritage, in combination with the absence of proper typographic education –even in modern day Greece– makes a weak trade that cannot support the autonomy of it’s script. 

    During the 20th century, Greek characters became a subset of Latin. Most of the typefaces were designed to accompany a Latin alphabet, with serifs added where there was no need for, violating the forms of the the letters, creating mongrels, that were widely used, resulting to false perception of the alphabet by modern day Greeks – and foreigners. 

    It is a fact today, for any Greek typeface (and here I mean a typeface as a product) that it must come with a Latin character set as well, otherwise it is unusable. 

    Thankfully, all these matters seem to concern a growing number of designers. The academic community seems to be aware of the situation and many practicing designers have the cultural background, the acquired knowledge and the ability to practice proper research and type design. A lot more can be done but at least we are at the right direction.


  • antonisantonis Posts: 7
    No offense Vassilis, but this is the line of thought that accepts the writing of the monks as "Greek" and if you do this, then you have to accept the consequences. It is a matter how one wants to read history.

    I disagree that the west was reading the writings of imminent scholars. I think that this can not withstand historical critisism. The west was discovering the ancient writings. Aristotle, Plato, Epicureans, Stoics, etc etc. The origin of these copies was the monasteries. With the great exception of Plethon Gemistos and his few students (Vissarion), who are these "imminent scholars"? I check the scientific Genealogy at AMS (the american mathematical society)(and in thse years it is not only mathematicians) and there are just no names. The tree (evolving from modern era backwards) has already reached Persia. There are no names other than the few around Plethon, who seems to restart science.

    I think that another fault of this (and it is not Vassilis'-only-idea, but people say this openly) is hidden in the phrase "maybe due to a general eastern influence".
    When you have "influence" you are "influenced" in general. If it is just "an influence"
    why the capitals remain intact? These were somehow isolated from any influence. Why?

    And why to create lowercase anyways? In this presentation there is a chronological gap between the ancient all capital writing and the writing of the "imminent scholars". Where did it came from? By whom? and why?

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 19
    In type design, as far as the capital letters are concerned, Greek and Latin have very much in common. When designing a typeface, for Greek capitals, the “adoption” of the Roman forms is rather easy and can have a satisfying result. In the case of sans serif geometric letterforms things are even more appropriate to the ductus of greek letters, since they are strongly based on clear geometric forms. 

    The problems begin on the design of the minuscule letters. In Greek, the evolution from capital to minuscule forms was completely different from that of the Latin. Different writing tools, extensive use of abbreviations and ligatures –maybe due to a general eastern influence– created an alphabet that is rather fluent and does not have serifs, in contrast to the Latin, whose forms are more stable and fit the capitals appropriately. 

    Minuscule greek letters evolved in the Byzantine era. The fall of Constantinople and the beginning of the Ottoman occupation of Greece –happening a few years before Gutenberg’s invention of movable type– had as a consequence the lack of a parallel evolution of typography in Greece. Greek types were designed mostly by foreign typographers and publishers, although based on the writing hands of immigrant greek scholars.


    These paragraphs of this represent my thoughts on the subject exactly, I am in complete agreement with them.

    The designs by the likes of Garamond, Didot or Porson are exceptional models for greek types. But the lack of strong typographic heritage, in combination with the absence of proper typographic education –even in modern day Greece– makes a weak trade that cannot support the autonomy of it’s script.

    This is where perhaps I disagree. It certainly appears that, at present, existing Greek typefaces in certain styles (I am fully satisfied with sans-serifs like the New Hellenic, and I am not, even if that is based on a false premise, claiming that the Porson cursive lower-case is problematically inauthentic, or - as per the three paragraphs of yours with which I began - worried about the capitals) seem, to me, to be harmfully influenced by the Latin script.
    But while Greek typography may not have the current ability to "support the autonomy of its script", I believe that it can acquire the ability to do so, and, indeed, that it should, and even must do so. But my goal is much more modest than autonomy in some senses.
    For Greek to make serifed, non-cursive, lower-case its own, in the absense of a good set of historical models... poses challenges. I admit this. But I am not demanding that this new lower-case alphabet for Greek come with an impeccable historical pedigree, even if that means modern-day Greek readers... would have to learn to read all over again to be able to read it! No; with due apologies to the revival of Baybayin, I'd say such a thing is stupid (because unlike Baybayin, I doubt there's any interest in such a thing in Greece, and the Baybayin movement has more modest goals; for Greek, I'm talking about something that can be used to typeset a daily newspaper).
    All I'm hoping for is...
    Based on the Porson lower-case with which Greeks are familiar, and to some extent also referencing other models, such as Byzantine scripts, Cyrillic polu-ustav, Armenian and even Georgian, work out a lower-case alphabet for Greek that can be used

    when Greeks want to borrow a typeface originally designed for Latin

    without having to obviously use the exact form of Latin lower-case letters that are a jarringly poor fit for the Greek letters they are representing.

    That way, the situation of Greek, with a limited selection of its own typefaces of some kinds, will put less pressure on the shapes of the letters themselves. (The question of whether this just makes Latinization less painful and more insidious is one I am intentionally ignoring because I don't believe it useful to go there.)

    It is a fact today, for any Greek typeface (and here I mean a typeface as a product) that it must come with a Latin character set as well, otherwise it is unusable.

    How is that even a problem, I ask as my first reaction. After all, Latin typefaces as products tend to come with a Greek character set, and sometimes Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, Devanagari, Burmese, Tibetan, and even Korean and Chinese?
    Chinese typefaces also include the Latin character set so that the names of things outside China can be quoted. I don't see what alternative would make sense, although, given that in English one usually uses transliteration for Greek or Russian names, book titles, and so on, I suppose they could have done something with Zhuyin Fuhao/the National Alphabet/bopomofo had that been familiar while the Latin alphabet were unfamiliar - but, in fact, it's Zhuyin Fuhao that is little used today in China. (There is also a convention for using certain Chinese characters similar in shape to refer to Latin letters which could theoretically have been exploited, but I think there are good reasons not to rely on that as a primary approach, in existing use they're only used to refer to single letters and never to spell whole words.)
    Maybe it is a problem that Greeks have to refer to things outside Greece in the Latin alphabet more often than they should have to, but I would see that as (in most respects) a completely separate problem, even if it is also a part of the general issue of the overwhelming influence of the Latin-alphabet world (which is beyond any hope of change; for Greece to isolate itself from the rest of the world is not good for the Greeks, no one should want that).
  • antonis said:
    No offense Vassilis, but this is the line of thought that accepts the writing of the monks as "Greek" and if you do this, then you have to accept the consequences. It is a matter how one wants to read history.

    antonis, non taken, why should I be offended? Although I don’t really understand which “writing of the monks” you are referring to. I am talking about the alphabet that has been used to write the greek language and the evolution of this alphabet, from capitals to minuscules. Simple as that. The table on the image bellow (taken from the greek edition of the book Introduzione alla Paleografia Greca by Elpidio Mioni) is informative.



    antonis said:
    I disagree that the west was reading the writings of imminent scholars. I think that this can not withstand historical critisism. The west was discovering the ancient writings. Aristotle, Plato, Epicureans, Stoics, etc etc. The origin of these copies was the monasteries. With the great exception of Plethon Gemistos and his few students (Vissarion), who are these "imminent scholars"? I check the scientific Genealogy at AMS (the american mathematical society)(and in thse years it is not only mathematicians) and there are just no names. The tree (evolving from modern era backwards) has already reached Persia. There are no names other than the few around Plethon, who seems to restart science.

    This is my mistake (excuse my English), instead of “writing” I mean “writing hand” and instead of “sholars” I mean “scribes”. The hand of Angelos Vergikios (image bellow) as a model for the grecs du roi is a widely known example for this point.



    antonis said:

    I think that another fault of this (and it is not Vassilis'-only-idea, but people say this openly) is hidden in the phrase "maybe due to a general eastern influence".
    When you have "influence" you are "influenced" in general. If it is just "an influence"
    why the capitals remain intact? These were somehow isolated from any influence. Why?

    The capitals did not remain intact! Many different styles have been created through the ages. I am posting just one example here, dating from 1476. From the first dated printed book by Constantine Lascaris. 



    antonis said:
    And why to create lowercase anyways? In this presentation there is a chronological gap between the ancient all capital writing and the writing of the "imminent scholars". Where did it came from? By whom? and why?

    The main reason is practical: to be able to write the script faster, with fewer strokes, without lifting the pen from the paper. This didn’t happen overnight, but slowly over centuries. The casual contemporary example pictured bellow is written by myself, to illustrate this point. You can see for example that the first three letters are written without lifting the pen (minus the horizontal stroke of pi).


  • John Savard said:
    This is where perhaps I disagree. It certainly appears that, at present, existing Greek typefaces in certain styles (I am fully satisfied with sans-serifs like the New Hellenic, and I am not, even if that is based on a false premise, claiming that the Porson cursive lower-case is problematically inauthentic, or - as per the three paragraphs of yours with which I began - worried about the capitals) seem, to me, to be harmfully influenced by the Latin script.

    Yes, sans serifs –either grotesk, humanistic or geometric– are easy. The problems come when the font is not “monolinear” and must accompany a serif Roman. 

      

    But while Greek typography may not have the current ability to "support the autonomy of its script", I believe that it can acquire the ability to do so, and, indeed, that it should, and even must do so. But my goal is much more modest than autonomy in some senses.
    For Greek to make serifed, non-cursive, lower-case its own, in the absense of a good set of historical models... poses challenges. I admit this. But I am not demanding that this new lower-case alphabet for Greek come with an impeccable historical pedigree, even if that means modern-day Greek readers... would have to learn to read all over again to be able to read it! No; with due apologies to the revival of Baybayin, I'd say such a thing is stupid (because unlike Baybayin, I doubt there's any interest in such a thing in Greece, and the Baybayin movement has more modest goals; for Greek, I'm talking about something that can be used to typeset a daily newspaper).

    There are many such serifed, non cursive typefaces in the market already and they are being used for editorial design (mags and news papers) as well as in branding and advertising. But for me, they are no good. A greek character set can be genuinely “cursive” and still complement a roman one without being “alien”. 

     

    John Savard said:

    All I'm hoping for is...
    Based on the Porson lower-case with which Greeks are familiar, and to some extent also referencing other models, such as Byzantine scripts, Cyrillic polu-ustav, Armenian and even Georgian, work out a lower-case alphabet for Greek that can be used

    when Greeks want to borrow a typeface originally designed for Latin

    without having to obviously use the exact form of Latin lower-case letters that are a jarringly poor fit for the Greek letters they are representing.

    That way, the situation of Greek, with a limited selection of its own typefaces of some kinds, will put less pressure on the shapes of the letters themselves. (The question of whether this just makes Latinization less painful and more insidious is one I am intentionally ignoring because I don't believe it useful to go there.)

    The main characteristic of Greek lowercase text fonts is their cursiveness, along with  their entry and exit strokes – instead of serifs. You can reduce the amount of cursiveness but you cannot discard it. You can design the entry and exit strokes in a manner that they fit well with the latin’s serifs but you must not add serifs to the Greek. If we consider that text fonts should somehow reflect the spirit of hand writing, then this just don’t look natural, it looks constructed.  

    There are two upright models widely used in Greece until today, especially in book typography:

    1. The Didot model “Απλά” (Monotype Greek 90)

    2. The so called “Ελζεβίρ” (Elzevier – picture Times Roman Greek)

    The “Λειψίας” (Leipzig or Monotype Greek 91) typeface was traditionally used as a complementary “italic”. 

    Porson (called in Greece “Πελασγικά”) was not as much used in Greece, maybe because of it’s slant. I don’t recommend it as a model. 


    It is a fact today, for any Greek typeface (and here I mean a typeface as a product) that it must come with a Latin character set as well, otherwise it is unusable.

    How is that even a problem, I ask as my first reaction. After all, Latin typefaces as products tend to come with a Greek character set, and sometimes Cyrillic, Armenian, Georgian, Devanagari, Burmese, Tibetan, and even Korean and Chinese?
    Chinese typefaces also include the Latin character set so that the names of things outside China can be quoted. I don't see what alternative would make sense, although, given that in English one usually uses transliteration for Greek or Russian names, book titles, and so on, I suppose they could have done something with Zhuyin Fuhao/the National Alphabet/bopomofo had that been familiar while the Latin alphabet were unfamiliar - but, in fact, it's Zhuyin Fuhao that is little used today in China. (There is also a convention for using certain Chinese characters similar in shape to refer to Latin letters which could theoretically have been exploited, but I think there are good reasons not to rely on that as a primary approach, in existing use they're only used to refer to single letters and never to spell whole words.)
    Maybe it is a problem that Greeks have to refer to things outside Greece in the Latin alphabet more often than they should have to, but I would see that as (in most respects) a completely separate problem, even if it is also a part of the general issue of the overwhelming influence of the Latin-alphabet world (which is beyond any hope of change; for Greece to isolate itself from the rest of the world is not good for the Greeks, no one should want that).

    You misunderstood me, I am not saying that this a problem! I just say that it is necessary! From the designer’s point of view, I look at it as a challenge! 

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,733
    It's interesting to ponder the different directions that the Greek script might have taken in the evolution of a minuscule by observing the different directions that it did take in Coptic and Cyrillic.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,191
    I know we can never have a redo of that time, under the Ottomans, when a lower case would have come about naturally as it did with other scripts.  I do hope that the younger generation of Greek type designers of today will not feel constricted by the past and feel the need for only historical models.  I would like to see them design within themselves and pull out a new flavor that still reads to the normal Greek reader. I see no need for a scholarly model to follow.  Let it be a design problem, not a history problem. We have enough in the Byzantine minuscules to retain readability without having to predetermine what the next evolution will be.  It is not so much a question of serifs or not serifs, it is a question of form at the purest.  It is a visual problem, not a style matching problem. I am just saying, close no doors. Let the next generation of Greek designers open them all and do what happens.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 20
    I know we can never have a redo of that time, under the Ottomans, when a lower case would have come about naturally as it did with other scripts.

    I agree generally with your whole comment, even if I want the door of slavish imitation of Latin to be used less often. But it is the first sentence I wish to comment on.
    The past cannot be changed. But the future lies fefore us. Whatever was not done in the past can still be done in the future.
    Oh, of course, even if some Greeks dedicated themselves to creating the lower case that would have come about naturally if not for the Ottomans... once they had done so, they would face the problem that Greek already has a lower-case that the Greeks are used to reading. I acknowledge this is an obstacle, but not an insuperable one.
    Any of the letters of that new lower-case that are immediately and easily recognizable to current Greek readers could be used immediately; the others could be used simply as a source of a gentle influence, and perhaps over time the norm for those letters would shift.
    But you are definitely right that the historical approach is not the only way for Greek to find its own voice, new creativity in the present is just as good. Provided that everybody creating in the present is not smothered by an overwhelming Latin dominance. And the scary thing is that one can't be sure that isn't the case - that's why I, and others, keep referring to historical models even though they are not the only, or even necessarily the best, way. Unlike one's own creative mind, the historical models are safe from tampering.
    But being defensive instead of positive all the time is unhealthy - there are definitely two sides to this. A little defensiveness may be warranted, but balance is needed.
  • Atypical, an independent commercial type foundry operated by George Triantafyllakos has created VS., a typeface with four degrees of “greekness”:

    https://atypical.gr/fonts/Vs.


  • antonisantonis Posts: 7
    OK, I do not want to continue this, so I will stop with this post.

    I question the "Greekness" of the people who made the lowercase, as the imminemt historians of our time ("The history of the Hellenic Ethnos" 16 volumes, Ekdotiki Athinon, "The story of civilization", 11 vol, Will Durant) openly question the "Greekness" of the whole era after the 6th century, contrary to the high school books' propaganda.

    Angelo Vergecio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelo_Vergecio) is already too late (16th century). This does not prove anything. He is a copist not a scholar. But in any case he is too far from the birth of lowercase. And which Greek today wants to read Grec de Roi anyways?

    My mistake about the capitals. They too become more ornate in a non-Greek way as seen in your sample above. Who uses these capitals today other than the church? And the church uses this exactly because it is not Greek. My opinion is "stay away from these designs, nobody will use them, it is a waste of time".

    Right, they changed the writing in order to write very fast. >1000 of Greek writing nobody thought to write that fast. They had a reason which I wrote in my previous posts. It is good to see below the surface (and not stay in the finding "they wanted to write fast") and keep asking "why?"---the most important question in science (since we talk about History).


  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    I’m surprised to see an open-loop gamma advertized as Hellenized — if anything, this is a feature of the Latin (African) letter gamma.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,733
    I question the "Greekness" of the people who made the lowercase, as the imminemt historians of our time ("The history of the Hellenic Ethnos" 16 volumes, Ekdotiki Athinon, "The story of civilization", 11 vol, Will Durant) openly question the "Greekness" of the whole era after the 6th century, contrary to the high school books' propaganda.
    I understand the argument, but by the same logic are modern Greeks Greeks?


  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    edited January 22
    If the current Greek lowercase was invented by people who weren't Greek, to me that does diminish the importance of defending it against Latinization somewhat. But it's still what modern Greek people are used to reading, and more Latinized type would be less readable for them. So as I've noted above, I favor a two-pronged effort now: both defend the cursive lowercase from change in the direction of the Latin script, and see if there are any historically valid models in the direction of which incremental change can be made to the Greek lowercase.
    There's also no point in trying to switch people to a historically-valid script that is obscure and unfamiliar, requiring them to learn to read a new alphabet. That won't fly, except in a climate of unhealthy nationalism.
    Also, even if the current Greek lowercase is not really Greek in origin, the Greek people have made it their own, which counts for something.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    Is it certain that a gradual shift towards a historically valid model will result in better readability than a gradual shift towards any other model?
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 503
    Is it certain that a gradual shift towards a historically valid model will result in better readability than a gradual shift towards any other model?

    I wasn't attempting to claim or suggest that at all.
    The historically valid model is a goal for the purpose of allowing the Greek soul to be expressed in its typography and stuff like that.
    If the historically valid model is unfamiliar, however, moving towards it must be gradual in order to retain readability during the transition period. Not that I expect a completed changeover to happen, as instead other influences and creativity will lead Greek type design in other directions.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 567
    Yeah OK, I just took some phrases from your post and scrambled them together without thinking, sorry. What I intended to do was suggest avoiding excess historicism. I would lean more into the modern-day handwriting, calligraphy, and lettering, which would allow the soul of living people to be expressed.
  • antonisantonis Posts: 7
    @John Hudson It is not a matter of DNA or a matter of state identity. It is a matter of dialectic choice. If I want to be Indian or Greek or Chinese in an essential way (accepting and living in accordance to this civilization) then yes. A modern Greek can be Greek (or not) as much as s/he likes. Are they Greek today? Several are. The majority is confused but they feel the "right" way (they will reject Grec de Roi :) , Garamond Premier Pro, etc immediately for aesthetic reasons(=they feel foreign, not necessarily bad)). A minority is not by choice.

    @John Savard Yes they have made it theirs. And it is mine too. But not with the eastern Arabic style adornments. I will prefer the simplicity of Skia, Lucida, even Calibri. And if I want something romantic I will accept a good Bodoni as Greek although it may have its flat and thin serifs. I think it is time for me to make a Bodoni ... GFSBodoni is nice but it is only italics.

    @Vassilis Georgiou From the above VS-font I like number 3 with the capital Upsilon of number 4. This combination looks Hellenized to me and not number4 which starts walking towards the east...
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