Re: Designing Vietnamese diacritics

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sun Nov 17 2002 - 19:26:31 EST

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    John Hudson <tiro at tiro dot com> wrote:

    > The underdot (low glottalised tone), when applied to the lowercase y,
    > should sit just slightly to the right of the descending stroke, far
    > enough under the right side of the letter to make it clear that the
    > dot is below and not to the side of the letter. Clearly, this would
    > be impossible in designs that have a straight right side descending y
    > (e.g. the Bremer Presse roman). I don't know what to suggest for such
    > cases other than to avoid such designs when making typefaces for
    > Vietnamese.

    Well, I suppose it might work to put the dot to the *left* of such a
    descender, as long as it's still clear that the dot is below and not to
    the side of the letter. The real problem comes when you have a
    script-like font where the looped tail chews up all the room and forces
    the dot to be placed waaay down below the descender.

    In Central European typography, when diacritics on lower-case letters
    interfere with ascenders and descenders, you are sometimes permitted to
    move the diacritic to a less intrusive location (cf. U+010F, U+0123).
    I've never seen such a thing in Vietnamese, though, possibly because of
    the danger of confusing one tone mark for another. Any of the five tone
    marks may appear on any of the 12 vowels in Vietnamese (including breve,
    circumflex, and horn varieties) and misreading a tone mark would be Very

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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