Re: Is long s a presentation form?

From: John Delacour (
Date: Fri Nov 08 2002 - 15:19:06 EST

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    At 5:22 pm +0000 8/11/02, Michael Everson wrote:

    >I like to think of the long s as similar to the final sigma. Nobody
    >thinks that final sigma should be a presentation form of sigma.
    >Nobody really uses long s in modern Roman typography, and it's a lot
    >more convenient to have this as a separate character for the
    >nonce-uses that it has than to expect font designers round the world
    >to add special shaping tables to all their fonts just for this

    Fashions change. It's worth noting that English typography, whether
    for English or Latin, gives a double long s in the middle of a word
    and never long s + short s or any ligature. But hand-writing of the
    same period (not only in England) gives the "real" long s (like
    U+222B) followed by final s. I have a folio version of (1778) Vergil
    with copious notes in longhand by the original owner as an example of
    this. Cervantes uses the long s but Racine only the short s.
    Petrarch and later Italian writers use a special form of what I would
    call the 'tall' s rather than the 'long' s and this can also be
    doubled. Montaigne has

    as/urer , /ouvenir, retentis/ment, estoient, j'eusse, nouri/ser,
    au/si, aussi, po/se/sion ... etc., and imposes no rule on himself
    except never to write a short s at the beginning of a word or before
    a t.


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