W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 1999

Re: font-size and accents, again

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 15:42:03 +0100
Message-ID: <38413F3B.E7EA412A@w3.org>
To: David Perrell <davidp@earthlink.net>
CC: www-style@w3.org

David Perrell wrote:

> I also question the use of the word "bicameral" in the spec.
> What, I wondered, does the latin word for "chamber" have to do
> with fonts? 

Nothing, but the word for "form" does ;-)

> Why not "dual-case (uppercase and lowercase)", and
> "single-case", which could be easily understood by anyone who
> understands the terms "uppercase" and "lowercase?"

Well, not everyone thinks in terms of two wooden boxed filled with lumps
of lead. Furthermore, the term does not necessarily apply since some
non-Latin scripts are bicameral but the two forms are not used in the
same way as our "upper case" and "lower case". So, having an upper and a
lower case is one example of a bicameral script.

Incidentally, bicameral wasn't a term I made up:

" Bicameral
    A bicameral alphabet is two alphabets joined. The modern 
    Latin alphabet, which you are reading, is an example [...] "

Robert Bringhurst, The Elements f Typographic Style, second edition.
ISBN 0-88179-132-6

A similar definition appears in the first edition, which is what I used
when writing that part of the CSS spec.

I was impressed by Robert's clear lecturing style and also, importantly,
by the emphasis he gives to non-Latin typography, which is often
mentioned only in passing or even discounted altogether in many books on

Received on Sunday, 28 November 1999 09:42:10 UTC

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