Re: Greek Diacritics Again

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Nov 27 2000 - 22:31:42 EST

At 05:42 PM 11/27/2000 -0800, Robert Wheelock wrote:

>Remember: Tonos is a straight apostrophe mark (like on a typewriter), Acute
>has the mark right slanted (Touché!). Thank You!

No. As I explained previously, Greek type designers and typographers to
whom I have spoken about this all favour a right leaning tonos (not as
oblique as many western acute accents, more similar to the traditional
angle of the Polish acute, but definitely not vertical). The vertical tonos
was briefly fashionable during a lamented period of Greek graphic design in
which every effort was made to ape the modernist geometric design of
western Europe. The vertical tonos, like most of the type designs stemming
from that period (e.g. Helvetica Greek), has found no support in the recent
renaissance of Greek typography centred on the efforts of the Greek Font
Society, Hyphen (the journal of Greek typography), and quality Greek
publishers, most of whom are based in Thessaloniki from whence most of the
more thoughtful and sophisticated Greek typography currently flows.

The recent releases of Adobe OpenType fonts which contain Greek characters
-- Minion Pro*, Myriad Pro and Warnock Pro -- all display the slightly
oblique tonos. These designs, which are already highly regarded
(particularly the Myriad Pro sans serif), were advised by Gerry Leonidas of
the University of Reading, the Association Typographique International
country delegate for Greece, who probably knows as much as anyone living
about the history and practice of Greek type design.

I have put a small graphic online showing the exemplary tonos marks in the
three new Adobe fonts:

*Minion Pro contains both monotonic and polytonic characters. The tonos
mark is more upright than the oxia but, as can be seen from the graphic, it
is not vertical.

John Hudson

PS: I just noticed that I still have another graphic online, comparing the
tonos to the Latin acute accent in my Heidelberg Gothic design. I suppose
this dates from the last time we had this discussion on the Unicode list :)

Tiro Typeworks |
Vancouver, BC | All empty souls tend to extreme opinion. | W.B. Yeats |

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:15 EDT