Thursday April 15, 2004

Doulos SIL

The good people at SIL have released a new version of their Doulos font, which includes IPA as well as lots of other Latin and Greek letter forms. "Doulos SIL 4.0", as it's called, has been scaled down slightly in height from the previous version, SILDoulosUnicodeIPA, which makes it a nearly perfect match for Times New Roman (on my Window machine, at least) . You can download it here.

I've been playing around with the new font a bit. Like the previous version, it's a Unicode font, which means no more pesky switching back and forth between character encodings. This also makes it straightforward to use in web pages. It looks like the new font has better hinting as well, which means it still looks good at small pixel sizes on a computer screen—the previous version looked clotted and jaggy at sizes below about 16pt. Most conveniently for those of us writing papers, the new font looks even more like Times than the old version. The glyphs in both fonts are now the same height, although the line height of Doulos SIL is still slightly larger than Times—presumably to make room for the diacritics.

Doulos SIL has a lot of diacritics up in the Combining Diacritical Marks range—it looks like it's got all the diacritics that SIL's other all-Latin-and-Greek font, Gentium, has, except: the palatal and retroflex hooks (0321 and 0322), the combining overlay characters (0334-0338), and the combining tone marks (0340-0345). The hooks and the overlays are apparently missing by design—the PDF file that comes with the font explains why. I'd like to know why the tone marks didn't make it in, but I've never used them, so I'll get over it.

A number of missing IPA characters have been added. Here's some of the characters added since the previous version of Doulos (in Doulos SIL, if you've got it installed):

ɩ  0269, latin small letter iota.
ɷ  0277, latin small letter closed omega (a latin omega??)
ɿ  027F, latin small letter reversed r with fishhook
ʅ  0285, latin small letter squat reversed esh
ʆ  0286, latin small letter esh with curl
ʇ  0287, latin small letter turned t (I'd actually missed this one)
ʓ  0293, latin small letter ezh with curl
ʖ  0296, latin letter inverted glottal stop
ʗ  0297, latin letter stretched c
ʚ  029A, latin small letter closed open e (closed open?)
ʠ  02A0, latin small letter q with hook

...not to mention a bunch of digraphs, dingbats, wingdings, and other odd creatures.

In addition to various new glyphs, Doulos SIL has "smart font" features that use the OpenType and Graphite technologies. I'm not enough of a font geek to understand all the implications of that statement, but for our linguistic purposes it means that if an application supports those technologies, it will be able to display ligatures and place combining diacritcs much better (including stacking). Unfortunately, MS Word, my current word processor, doesn't support OpenType yet—which is annoying, because Microsoft and Adobe are behind the format. Hopefully, Microsoft will catch up with themselves soon.

[Now playing: "Girl U Want" by Soundgarden]

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Makes me proud to be in an SIL school... :) Soon to be SIL member! (God willing... literally)

Posted by: Vera at Mar 16, 2005 6:38:31 PM

I've downloaded it, but how can I install it?

thanks a lot


Posted by: Jane at Oct 6, 2008 8:25:21 PM