A question about the Greek Tonos

The tonos is used in the Greek script to denote stressed vowels.  It is placed above some lower case letters and to the top left of the same upper case letters.
Is the placement to the top left of upper case letters to avoid collisions with the descenders of the letters on the line above or is it a cultural thing ?
The significance of this is that I am doing small capitals for a Greek script.  There is room above the small capitals for a tonos.  If the reason for the placement is to avoid collisions then this would be appropriate but if it is expected by Greek speaking people that the tonos would be placed to the left of a capital letter coming up to the Cap Height then it would be inappropriate to place them over the small capitals.
I have looked at several fonts but there seems to be no consensus on this.
Please advise me, especially if you are Greek. :)
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Comments

  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 432
    edited April 19
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jALb3fPLTRk , especially after the 32 min mark. Mr. Leonidas is, of course, a TD board member. :) I am interested if the sc issue got resolved in newer version of InDesign. :)

  • The uppercase tonos is only used in mixed case. Since SC looks like all-caps, I would apply all-caps accenting rules, so no tonos at all (only the dieresis).
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 44
    An exception to keep in mind is that Ή (Etatonos) can still be marked even in allcaps Greek, because it is the word "or", to distinguish it when necessary from Η which is the feminine singular article "the". I have seen many examples of this in pictures of Ancient Greek artifacts; I don't know for sure whether Modern Greek still does this.



  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,665
    edited April 20
    The standard practice of placing marks to the left of caps in Greek dates from 19th Century typography. Prior to that one often saw the marks above (and I have a 1593 example in which they're to the right). Since the monotonic tonos mark is disunified in Unicode from the polytonic oxia mark, I think a case can be made for treating it simply. But who wants to make typefaces that only support the boring monotonic system?  :p

    Historically, one of the uses of the Greek smallcaps has been to represent uncial text, which follows Byzantine conventions in having the accents above the letters. Laurentius' edition of Apollonius of Rhodes; Argonautica is a famous example.

    In my Greek fonts with smallcaps, I follow this convention, with the marks above, as the default display, but have a stylistic set that applies the same mark suppression as the all-caps. [Note that this mark suppression is more complicated than just removing all the marks. Apart from the kind of situation @K Pease notes, there are some words where removal of the tonos — or other accent/breathing mark in polytonic — requires contextual insertion of a dialytika (diaeresis) on the adjacent vowel.]


    [Heh. I linked to that Flickr image without even realising that it was me who posted it, eleven years ago. I'd forgotten that I even had a Flicker account.]
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 213
    The uppercase tonos is only used in mixed case. Since SC looks like all-caps, I would apply all-caps accenting rules, so no tonos at all (only the dieresis).
    Yes but would a Greek person using my font be expecting all their tonos marks to disappear if they changed the formatting of a piece of text to small caps ?
    As some of the other posts have pointed out there are exceptions to the rule and this is something which should be handled at word processor level not at character level.
    I will place the marks above the letters as Mr Hudson suggests.
    Thank you.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 213
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jALb3fPLTRk , especially after the 32 min mark. Mr. Leonidas is, of course, a TD board member. :) I am interested if the sc issue got resolved in newer version of InDesign. :)

    This is indeed a very enlightening talk, thank you for sharing this.

    The Greek alphabet in question is an extension to the Munson font which is a Victorian style slab serif and so I was doing the Greek in the style of a Victorian slab serif.  Mr Leonidas has some discouraging remarks about features "copypasted from latin fonts" which I will have to think about.
    Perhaps a hybrid approach is in order, but I don't know what that will look like yet.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,449
    copypasted

    For an alternative interpretation take a look at the type designs of Panos Vassiliou.
    Centro, for instance, while not Victorian, is a slab serif style with eta resembling /n, nu /v and chi /x.

    It is indeed a “hybrid approach”, working both ways, in that while the nu looks very n-ish without a descender, its curled tail nonetheless follows the traditional form of iota, and this feature has been “copypasted” in the face’s Latin /i. Brilliant harmonizing.

    I must admit that when I first came across typefaces in which the /n had a rather “cursive” right serif—notably ITC Century—it didn’t look right. But then I discovered other faces with this feature, such as Palatino, Koch Antiqua and Artcraft, and I became more comfortable with it, eventually employing it in Oneleigh.

    That style of /n does seem more at home in an old style, which is closer to the broad pen, calligraphic origins of Latin type and less rigid, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed ITC Century or Centro.

     
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