W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > May 2004

Re: font-family: IPA

From: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 16:45:35 -0400
Message-ID: <410-22004509204535484@mindspring.com>
To: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "W3C CSS List" <www-style@w3.org>

> [Original Message]
> From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
> On Sun, 9 May 2004, Ernest Cline wrote:
> >
> > 1) A single keyword, IPA, with no way to differentiate between
> > the serif, sans-serif, and monospaced versions.
> >
> > 2) A single keyword IPA that could be used in conjunction
> > with another generic font-family keyword.
> >
> > 3) Separate keywords IPA, IPA-serif, IPA-monospace,
> > IPA-sans-serif to represent the various possibilities.
> Sounds more like a font-variant to me. But the point is moot, unless
> font formats contain this information. I do not believe they do, so
> this would make the entire idea unimplementable as far as I can tell.

As far as Panose is concerned, I don't that it does at present,
altho an IPA only font would probably have PANOSE classification
5 5 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
with a monospaced IPA font being:
5 5 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0
It would be possible to extend the PANOSE 1.0 system to explicitly
indicate IPA-ness with a different second digit if such was wanted,
but I seriously doubt that will occur.  Also, dual-use IPA/normal Latin
fonts wouldn't be at all detectable by the current PANOSE scheme.
Those certainly would be a subtype of 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 and there
is no appropriate digit to give a unique IPA value to.

It would probably be simpler to check the font to see if it contained
characters from the IPA Extensions block.  Without that block, there
is no way that IPA usages would work in general, and if does
contain such characters, especially U+0251 LATIN SMALL LETTER
ALPHA, which are used only in IPA and not in any of the extended
Latin orthographies, then it is probably safe to say that it will
represent the dual-use characters such as U+0061 LATIN SMALL
LETTER A correctly for IPA, even when italicized.

(Some serif fonts change the glyph when italicizing U+0061 to the
one prescribed for U+0251 by the IPA, and a fair number of sans
serif fonts such as Avant Garde and Futura use that glyph for both
roman and italic text.)

Actually, since many user agents allow for the user to pick the font
that is to be used, that was the mechanism I was expecting would
be used rather than automagic detection. but I think that it would be
possible to offer guidance to the user as to probable good choices
without too much difficulty. based on the characters contained in the

As for font-variant instead of font-family, I don't think so.  smallcaps
can be simulated if there isn't a smallcap version of the font, but
as you pointed out, there is no mechanism to know for certain if the
glyphs are appropriate for the IPA and even it there were not, no
algorithm to synthesize reasonable correct glyphs.
Received on Sunday, 9 May 2004 16:45:43 UTC

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