A diacritic – diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent – is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek διακριτικός, from διακρίνω. Diacritic is an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective; some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave, are called accents. Diacritical marks may appear above or below a letter, or in some other position such as within the letter or between two letters; the main use of diacritical marks in the Latin script is to change the sound-values of the letters to which they are added. Examples are the diaereses in the borrowed French words naïve and Noël, which show that the vowel with the diaeresis mark is pronounced separately from the preceding vowel. In other Latin-script alphabets, they may distinguish between homonyms, such as the French là versus la that are both pronounced /la/. In Gaelic type, a dot over a consonant indicates lenition of the consonant in question.
In other alphabetic systems, diacritical marks may perform other functions. Vowel pointing systems, namely the Arabic harakat and the Hebrew niqqud systems, indicate vowels that are not conveyed by the basic alphabet; the Indic virama and the Arabic sukūn mark the absence of vowels. Cantillation marks indicate prosody. Other uses include the Early Cyrillic titlo stroke and the Hebrew gershayim, which mark abbreviations or acronyms, Greek diacritical marks, which showed that letters of the alphabet were being used as numerals. In the Hanyu Pinyin official romanization system for Chinese, diacritics are used to mark the tones of the syllables in which the marked vowels occur. In orthography and collation, a letter modified by a diacritic may be treated either as a new, distinct letter or as a letter–diacritic combination; this varies from language to language, may vary from case to case within a language. English is the only major modern European language requiring no diacritics for native words.
In some cases, letters are used as "in-line diacritics", with the same function as ancillary glyphs, in that they modify the sound of the letter preceding them, as in the case of the "h" in the English pronunciation of "sh" and "th". Among the types of diacritic used in alphabets based on the Latin script are: accents ◌́ – acute ◌̀ – grave ◌̂ – circumflex ◌̌ – caron, wedge ◌̋ – double acute ◌̏ – double grave ◌̃ - tilde dots ◌̇ – overdot ◌̣ – an underdot is used in Rheinische Dokumenta and in Hebrew and Arabic transcription ◌·◌ – interpunct tittle, the superscript dot of the modern lowercase Latin i and j ◌̈ – diaeresis or umlaut ◌ː – triangular colon, used in the IPA to mark long vowels. Curves ◌̆ – breve ◌̑ - inverted breve ◌͗ – sicilicus, a palaeographic diacritic similar to a caron or breve ◌̃ – tilde ◌҃ – titlo vertical stroke ◌̩ – syllabic a subscript vertical stroke is used in IPA to mark syllabicity and in Rheinische Dokumenta to mark a schwa macron or horizontal line ◌̄ – macron ◌̱ – underbar overlays ◌⃓ – vertical bar through the character ◌̷ – slash through the character ◌̵ – crossbar through the character ring ◌̊ – overring superscript curls ◌̓ – apostrophe ◌̉ – hoi ◌̛ – horn subscript curls ◌̦ – undercomma ◌̧ – cedilla ◌̡ ◌̢ – hook, left or right, sometimes superscript ◌̨ – ogonek double marks ◌͝◌ – double breve ◌͡◌ – tie bar or top ligature ◌᷍◌ – double circumflex ◌͞◌ – longum ◌͠◌ – double tilde double sub/superscript diacritics ◌̧ ̧ - double cedilla ◌̨ ̨ - double ogonek ◌̈ ̈ - double diaeresisThe tilde, comma, apostrophe and colon are sometimes diacritical marks, but have other uses.
Not all diacritics occur adjacent to the letter. In the Wali language of Ghana, for example, an apostrophe indicates a change of vowel quality, but occurs at the beginning of the word, as in the dialects ’Bulengee and ’Dolimi; because of vowel harmony, all vowels in a word are affected, so the scope of the diacritic is the entire word. In abugida scripts, like those used to write Hindi and Thai, diacritics indicate vowels, may occur above, before, after, or around the consonant letter they modify; the tittle on the letter i of the Latin alphabet originated as a diacritic to distinguish i from the minims of adjacent letters. It first appeared in the 11th century in the sequence ii spread to i adjacent to m, n, u, to all lowercase i's; the j a variant of i, inherited the tittle. The shape of the diacritic developed from resembling today's acute accent to a long flourish by the 15th century. With the advent of Roman type it was reduced to the round. Hamza: indicates a glottal stop. Tanwīn symbols: Serve a grammatical role in Arabic.
The sign ـً is most written in combination with alif, e.g. ـًا. Shadda: Gemination of consonants. Waṣla: Comes most at the beginning of a word. Indicates a type of hamza, pronounced only when the letter is read at the beginnin
In typography, an ascender is the portion of a minuscule letter in a Latin-derived alphabet that extends above the mean line of a font. That is, the part of a lower-case letter, taller than the font's x-height. Ascenders, together with descenders, increase the recognizability of words. For this reason, many situations that require high legibility such as road signs avoid using capital letters, the all-caps style. Studies made at the start of the construction of the British motorway network concluded that words with mixed-case letters were much easier to read than "all-caps" and a special font was designed for motorway signs; these became universal across the UK. See Road signs in the United Kingdom. In many fonts intended for body text, such as Bembo and Garamond, ascenders rise above the cap height of the capital letters
Letter case is the distinction between the letters that are in larger upper case and smaller lower case in the written representation of certain languages. The writing systems that distinguish between the upper and lower case have two parallel sets of letters, with each letter in one set having an equivalent in the other set; the two case variants are alternative representations of the same letter: they have the same name and pronunciation and are treated identically when sorting in alphabetical order. Letter case is applied in a mixed-case fashion, with both upper- and lower-case letters appearing in a given piece of text; the choice of case is prescribed by the grammar of a language or by the conventions of a particular discipline. In orthography, the upper case is reserved for special purposes, such as the first letter of a sentence or of a proper noun, which makes the lower case the more common variant in regular text. In some contexts, it is conventional to use one case only. For example, engineering design drawings are labelled in upper-case letters, which are easier to distinguish than the lower case when space restrictions require that the lettering be small.
In mathematics, on the other hand, letter case may indicate the relationship between objects, with upper-case letters representing "superior" objects. The terms upper case and lower case can be written as two consecutive words, connected with a hyphen, or as a single word; these terms originated from the common layouts of the shallow drawers called type cases used to hold the movable type for letterpress printing. Traditionally, the capital letters were stored in a separate shallow tray or "case", located above the case that held the small letters. Majuscule, for palaeographers, is technically any script in which the letters have few or short ascenders and descenders, or none at all. By virtue of their visual impact, this made the term majuscule an apt descriptor for what much came to be more referred to as uppercase letters. Minuscule refers to lower-case letters; the word is spelled miniscule, by association with the unrelated word miniature and the prefix mini-. This has traditionally been regarded as a spelling mistake, but is now so common that some dictionaries tend to accept it as a nonstandard or variant spelling.
Miniscule is still less however, to be used in reference to lower-case letters. The glyphs of lower-case letters can resemble smaller forms of the upper-case glyphs restricted to the base band or can look hardly related. Here is a comparison of the upper and lower case variants of each letter included in the English alphabet: Typographically, the basic difference between the majuscules and minuscules is not that the majuscules are big and minuscules small, but that the majuscules have the same height. There is more variation in the height of the minuscules, as some of them have parts higher or lower than the typical size. B, d, f, h, k, l, t are the letters with ascenders, g, j, p, q, y are the ones with descenders. In addition, with old-style numerals still used by some traditional or classical fonts, 6 and 8 make up the ascender set, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 the descender set. Writing systems using two separate cases are bicameral scripts. Languages that use the Latin, Greek, Armenian, Warang Citi and Osage scripts use letter cases in their written form as an aid to clarity.
Other bicameral scripts, which are not used for any modern languages, are Old Hungarian and Deseret. The Georgian alphabet has several variants, there were attempts to use them as different cases, but the modern written Georgian language does not distinguish case. Many other writing systems make no distinction between majuscules and minuscules – a system called unicameral script or unicase; this includes most other non-alphabetic scripts. In scripts with a case distinction, lower case is used for the majority of text. Acronyms are written in all-caps, depending on various factors. Capitalisation is the writing of a word with its first letter in uppercase and the remaining letters in lowercase. Capitalisation rules vary by language and are quite complex, but in most modern languages that have capitalisation, the first word of every sentence is capitalised, as are all proper nouns. Capitalisation in English, in terms of the general orthographic rules independent of context, is universally standardised for formal writing.
Capital letters are used as the first letter of a proper noun, or a proper adjective. The names of the days of the week and the names of the months are capitalised, as are the first-person pronoun "I" and the interjection "O". There are a few pairs of words of d
In typography, the x-height, or corpus size, is the distance between the baseline and the mean line of lower-case letters in a typeface. This is the height of the letter x in the font, as well as the v, w, z. One of the most important dimensions of a font, x-height is used to define how high lower-case letters are compared to upper-case letters. Display typefaces intended to be used at large sizes, such as on signs and posters, vary in x-height. Many have high x-heights to be read from a distance. This, though, is not universally the case: some display typefaces such as Cochin and Koch-Antiqua intended for publicity uses have low x-heights, to give them a more elegant, delicate appearance, a mannerism, common in the early twentieth century. Many sans-serif designs that are intended for display text have high x-heights, such as Helvetica or, more Impact. Medium x-heights are found on fonts intended for body text, allowing more balance and contrast between upper- and lower-case letters and a brighter page.
They increase again for optical sizes of font designed for small print, such as captions, so that they can be read printed small. High x-heights on display typefaces were common in designs in the 1960s and 70s, when International Typeface Corporation released popular variations of older designs with boosted x-heights. More some typefaces such as Mrs Eaves and Brandon Grotesque have been issued with distinctively low x-heights to try to create a more elegant appearance. While computers allow fonts to be printed at any size, professional font designers such as Adobe issue fonts in a range of optical sizes optimized to be printed at different sizes; as an example of this, Mrs Eaves exists in two versions: an original style intended to give an elegant, bright appearance, a less distinctive'XL' design intended for body text. Some research has suggested that while higher x-heights may help with reading smaller text, a high x-height may be counterproductive because it becomes harder to identify the shape of a word if every letter is nearly the same height.
For the same reason, some sign manuals discourage all-capitals text. In computing one use of x-height is as a unit of measurement in web pages. In CSS and LaTeX the x-height is called an ex; the use of ex in dimensioning objects, however, is less stable than use of the em across browsers. Internet Explorer, for example, dimensions ex at one half of em, whereas Mozilla Firefox dimensions ex closer to the actual x-height of the font, rounded relative to the font's current pixel height. Thus, the exact ratio of ex to em can vary by font size within a browser if the determined values are rounded to the nearest whole unit. For example, a browser calculating an x-height of 45% on a font 10 pixels tall may round ex to either 4 pixels or 5 pixels or leave it at 4.5 pixels. Lowercase letters whose height is greater than the x-height either have descenders which extend below the baseline, such as y, g, q, p, or have ascenders which extend above the x-height, such as l, k, b, d; the ratio of the x-height to the body height is one of the major characteristics that defines the appearance of a typeface.
The height of the capital letters is referred to as Cap height. X-height is most important in regular designs, such as most sans-serif designs. Em En Small caps Typographic unit Definition of x-height at typophile.com In the search of ideal line-height
In typography, a dingbat is an ornament, character, or spacer used in typesetting employed for the creation of box frames. The term continues to be used in the computer industry to describe fonts that have symbols and shapes in the positions designated for alphabetical or numeric characters. Examples of characters included in Unicode: The advent of Unicode and the universal character set it provides allowed used dingbats to be given their own character codes. Although fonts claiming Unicode coverage will contain glyphs for dingbats in addition to alphabetic characters, fonts that have dingbats in place of alphabetic characters continue to be popular for ease of input; such fonts are sometimes known as pi fonts. Some of the dingbat symbols have been used as signature marks, used in bookbinding to order sections; the Dingbats block was added to the Unicode Standard in June 1993, with the release of version 1.1. This code block contains decorative character variants, other marks of emphasis and non-textual symbolism.
Most of its characters were taken from Zapf Dingbats. The Dingbats block contains 33 emoji: U+2702, U+2705, U+2708–U+270D, U+270F, U+2712, U+2714, U+2716, U+271D, U+2721, U+2728, U+2733–U+2734, U+2744, U+2747, U+274C, U+274E, U+2753–U+2755, U+2757, U+2763–U+2764, U+2795–U+2797, U+27A1, U+27B0 and U+27BF; the block has 40 standardized variants defined to specify emoji-style or text presentation for the following twenty base characters: U+2702, U+2708–U+2709, U+270C–U+270D, U+270F, U+2712, U+2714, U+2716, U+271D, U+2721, U+2733–U+2734, U+2744, U+2747, U+2753, U+2757, U+2763–U+2764 and U+27A1. The Dingbats block has four emoji, they can be modified using U+1F3FB–U+1F3FF to provide for a range of skin tones using the Fitzpatrick scale: Additional human emoji can be found in other Unicode blocks: Emoticons, Miscellaneous Symbols, Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs, Supplemental Symbols and Pictographs and Transport and Map Symbols. The following Unicode-related documents record the purpose and process of defining specific characters in the Dingbats block: The Ornamental Dingbats block was added to the Unicode Standard in June 2014 with the release of version 7.0.
This code block contains ornamental leaves and ampersands, quilt squares, checkerboard patterns. It is a subset of dingbat fonts Webdings and Wingdings 2. Arrows in Unicode blocks Fleuron, known as a class of horticultural dingbats Punctuation Text semigraphics, a method for emulating raster graphics using text mode video hardware Unicode symbols Webdings, a TrueType dingbat font designed at Microsoft and published in 1997 Wingdings, a TrueType dingbat font assembled by Microsoft in 1990, using glyphs from Lucida Arrows, Lucida Icons, Lucida Stars, three fonts they licensed from Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes Zapf Dingbats, a dingbat font designed by Hermann Zapf in 1978, licensed by International Typeface Corporation Retinart: A history of often-seen typographic marks Dingbat Depot: a large, well-known archive of free dingbat fonts
Subscript and superscript
A subscript or superscript is a character, set below or above the normal line of type. It is smaller than the rest of the text. Subscripts appear below the baseline, while superscripts are above. Subscripts and superscripts are most used in formulas, mathematical expressions, specifications of chemical compounds and isotopes, but have many other uses as well. In professional typography and superscript characters are not ordinary characters reduced in size; the vertical distance that sub- or superscripted text is moved from the original baseline varies by typeface and by use. In typesetting, such types are traditionally called "superior" and "inferior" letters, etc. or just "superiors" and "inferiors". In English, most nontechnical use of superiors is archaic. Superior and inferior figures on the baseline are used for fractions and most other purposes, while lowered inferior figures are needed for chemical and mathematical subscripts. A single typeface may contain sub- and superscript glyphs at different positions for different uses.
The four most common positions are listed here. Because each position is used in different contexts, not all alphanumerics may be available in all positions. For example, subscript letters on the baseline are quite rare, many typefaces provide only a limited number of superscripted letters. Despite these differences, all reduced-size glyphs go by the same generic terms subscript and superscript, which are synonymous with the terms inferior letter and superior letter, respectively. Most fonts that contain superscript/subscript will have predetermined size and orientation, dependent on the design of the font; the most familiar example of subscripts is in chemical formulas. For example, the molecular formula for glucose is C6H12O6. A subscript is used to distinguish between different versions of a subatomic particle, thus electron and tau neutrinos are denoted νe νμ and ντ. A particle may be distinguished by multiple subscripts, such as Ω−bbb for the triple bottom omega particle. Subscripts are used in mathematics to define different versions of the same variable: for example, in an equation x0 and xf might indicate the initial and final value of x, while vrocket and vobserver would stand for the velocities of a rocket and an observer.
Variables with a zero in the subscript are referred to as the variable name followed by “naught”. Subscripts are used to refer to members of a mathematical sequence or set or elements of a vector. For example, in the sequence O =, O3 refers to the third member of sequence O, 800. In mathematics and computing, a subscript can be used to represent the radix, or base, of a written number where multiple bases are used alongside each other. For example, comparing values in hexadecimal and octal one might write Chex = 12dec = 14oct. Subscripted numbers dropped below the baseline are used for the denominators of stacked fractions, like this: 67 68; the only common use of these subscripts is for the denominators of diagonal fractions, like ½ or the signs for percent %, permille ‰, basis point ‱. Certain standard abbreviations are composed as diagonal fractions, such as ℅, ℀, ℁, or in Spanish ℆; these superscripts share a baseline with numerator digits, the top of which are aligned with the top of the full-height numerals of the base font.
Ordinal indicators are sometimes written as superscripts, although many English-language style guides recommend against this use. Other languages use a similar convention, such as 1er or 2e in French, or 4ª and 4º in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. In medieval manuscripts, many superscript as well as subscript signs were used to abbreviate text. From these developed modern diacritical marks. In early Middle High German and other modifications to pronunciation would be indicated by superscript letters placed directly above the letter they modified, thus the modern umlaut ü was written as uͤ. Both vowels and consonants were used in this way, as in boͮsen. In modern typefaces, these letters are smaller than other superscripts, their baseline is above the base font's midline, making them extend no higher than a typical ordinal indicator. Superscripts are used for the standard abbreviations for service mark ℠ and trademark ™; the signs for copyright © and registered trademark ® are sometimes superscripted, depending on the use or the typeface.
On handwritten documents and signs, a monetary amount may be written with the cents value superscripted, as in $8⁰⁰ or 8€⁵⁰. The superscripted numbers are underlined: $8⁰⁰, 8€⁵⁰; the currency symbol itself may be superscripted, as in $80 or 6¢. Superscripted numerals are used for the numerators of diagonal fractions, like ¾ or the signs for percent %, permille ‰, basis point ‱. Certain standard abbreviations are composed as diagonal fractions, such as ℅, ℀, ℁, or in Spanish ℆. Both low and high superscripts can be used to indicate the presenc
Text figures are numerals typeset with varying heights in a fashion that resembles a typical line of running text, hence the name. They are contrasted with lining figures. In text figures, the shape and positioning of the numerals vary. In the most common scheme, 0, 1, 2 are of x-height, having neither ascenders nor descenders. Other schemes exist. A few other typefaces used different arrangements. Sometimes the stress of the 0 is made different from a letter o in some way, although many fonts do not do this. High-quality typesetting prefers text figures in body text: they integrate better with lowercase letters and small capitals, unlike runs of lining figures. Lining figures are called for in all-capitals settings, may work better in tables and spreadsheets. During the period of transition from text figures to lining, a justification for the old system was that the height differences helped distinguish similar numbers, while a justification for lining figures was that they were clearer and that on uses such as page numbers they looked better giving all page numbers the same height.
Amusingly, as several writers have noted, the printer Thomas Curson Hansard in his landmark textbook on printing Typographia describes the new fashion as'preposterous', but the book was printed using lining figures and the modern typefaces he criticised throughout. Although many traditional fonts included a complete set of each kind of numbers, early digital fonts include only one or the other. Modern OpenType fonts include both, being able to switch via lnum and onum feature tags; the few common digital fonts that default to using text figures include Candara, Corbel, Hoefler Text, Junicode, some variations of Garamond, FF Scala. Palatino and its clone FPL Neu support lining figures; as the name medieval numerals implies, text figures have been in use since the Middle Ages, when Arabic numerals reached 12th century Europe, where they supplanted Roman numerals. Lining figures came out of the new middle-class phenomenon of shopkeepers’ hand-lettered signage, they were introduced to European typography in 1788, when Richard Austin cut a new font for type founder John Bell, which included three-quarter height lining figures.
They were further developed by 19th-century type designers, displaced text figures in some contexts, such as newspaper and advertising typography. The use of text figures suffered further setbacks for most of the 20th century, amid attempts to do away with typographic case altogether, they became rarer still with the advent of phototypesetting. Fine book faces for mechanical typesetting still used text numerals well into the 20th century, they began to make a strong comeback. Text figures are not encoded separately in Unicode, because they are not considered separate characters from lining figures, only a different way of writing the same characters. However, many fonts intended for professional use offer both text and lining figures, either using OpenType features to select between them or using Unicode's Private Use Area for one or the other set. Adobe's "Pro" fonts used to do both. Arabic numerals Arabic numeral variations § Old-style numerals Bergsland, David. "Using Numbers in the Proper Case".