Pan African Latin

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Eben Sorkin
Posts: 15
Joined: 27 Apr 2021

Pan African Latin

Post by Eben Sorkin »

I was wondering if Kern On Supports Pan African Latin. Some of it may be easy in the sense that there is a common base glyph with (for me) a novel diacritic use. But others like the 'bhook' or 'dhook' might need to be written into a formal Kern On definition. 'Oopen' for example might be able to use the values of C but reversed left to right.

I was thinking too that there might be a workaround with 'special spacing' but that might not be an appropriate use of that feature.

If the answer is that definitions need to be made I would be happy to make a list suggesting what might be mapped to existing definitions and what probably needs new definitions.
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Tim Ahrens
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Posts: 172
Joined: 11 Jul 2019

Re: Pan African Latin

Post by Tim Ahrens »

Pan African is generally supported by Kern On. You can have a look at the built-in list of pairs by choosing “Show package contents” with the .glyphsPlugin file, then you will find the file Contents/Resources/pair_frequencies.txt. As you can see, it doesn’t even think in terms of languages (although that does play a role in my scripts that generate the list), it’s all mixed. All KO is interested in is character pairs.

Currently the list has 195 pairs with Ɔ (Oopen) and 87 pairs with ɓ (bhook), for example, I hope this covers all pairs that can occur in real life. My corpus (Wikipedia in 200 languages, plus 1 M random tweets) does not seem to be very exhaustive when it comes to African languages, though. I tried to find better sources but it wasn’t easy. If you have a good Pan-African text corpus that would be helpful, of course.

Note that Kern On is completely agnostic of the typical relations between the characters. It does not make any assumptions or apply any strategy that assumes certain characters have similar shapes as others. It auto-kerns each pair based on the shapes in your font.

So, adding or improving support for scripts or languages is very easy as long as I have a decent amount of text and the set of characters required.
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