Friday, September 25, 2020

Figuring out Fraktur


(We're still waiting for part 2, Will.)





  






This text illustrates the long s in older English printing, as in beſt. Our familiar s is used at the end of words, as in Labours. This text also illustrates some ligatures: ſt in beſt, and what is supposed to be ſi  in Indiſpoſition, but seems to be an fi (f i) ligature by mistake. An ſi ligature looks like this:





The 1928 RaRo (Ransmayer & Rodrian) type catalogue offers no fewer than seven "Fraktur and Gothic" typefaces. 


The first style (42) is the one on my machine, and I believe it is found much more frequently than the others.


More reading on Wikipedia about ...

Fraktur
Blackletter
Long s
Ligatures
Eszett (ß)

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great information on Fraktur. I learned the letters and how to read it in our first year German class in school. Many of the boys wanted to know about it. He was kind enough to teach us about it and move on to teaching us to read and write German without Fraktur.

    I also have an old German Bible written in German with the same typeface.

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    1. Learning Fraktur first—that's neat. Like learning to drive a stick shift before trying an automatic.

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  2. Thanks for this extremely careful discussion of Fraktur, and the long s in particular! As a fan of type and writing systems, I'm often frustrated by writers (even in fact-checked publications such as The New Yorker) declaring that the f was used for s — mistaking the spur on the left of the long s as a full crossbar. I appreciated your sharp eye in identifying the erroneous fi ligature — probably the result of a misplaced si slug, or of simple carelessness, rather than an error committed in ignorance.

    Interestingly, the Schwabacher typeface that Fraktur largely superseded had less elaborate capitals, and is easier for us moderns to read.

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    1. Thanks, John. Yes, there is some sloppy typesetting in that example; note the n used instead of a u in "Snckling."

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  3. Oh, I see a missed opportunity by not using your Royal Diana for the "normal" typesamples instead of the Alpina. Then you could have made the link to what Orga ended up building in the end. :D

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    1. Ah. Interesting! I didn’t know about that connection.

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  4. I learned Farktur as part of my German 1 class back in 2002. We also learned the old style German cursive which was HORRIBLE. I was happy to leave that behind. I still appreciate Fraktur but it seems much more appropriate to me with German than English. I have the same ligatures on my machine.

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