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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Blog experiments: Hebrew and Greek Unicode

Our blog template now is using Tahoma font. (Later: the template has been returned to the Blogspot default font, Georgia.)

In this blog post we are attempting to use Times New Roman in this paragaph (as in "pair o' gaffes?!). There is Arial in other paragraphs. For the Hebrew and Greek accented characters, which previously did not display properly, we used Arial Unicode MS much of today (latest revision (Aug. 25): we have now stopped using Arial Unicode MS). (The latest display uses SBL Hebrew or Ezra SIL for the Hebrew characters, if these fonts are on your computer; if they are not then the display is in Times. Greek characters are displayed in Gentium, Tahoma, Times, or Arial.) How does this post display now in Internet Explorer and Firefox? (Final results for me, Wayne Leman: I now seem to have proper display of all Hebrew and Greek, including accented characters, in both IE and Firefox.)

I would enjoy finding out how many readers of this blog have computers setup now to display all the Hebrew and Greek characters. Please answer the survey, the first poll in the right margin.

From Peter Kirk's preceding post:

For test purposes, here are some Unicode Hebrew and Greek texts:

Fully pointed and accented Hebrew (thank you, Tim):

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

Enlarged display by Wayne: We should be able to display these Hebrew characters so they are larger:

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ

Increasing display size can be done in word processing programs, as well as in blog posts (for Blogger and Blogspot, use the Compose mode when creating or editing posts to view the Font and font size buttons).


Hebrew pointed but not accented:

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

Consonantal Hebrew only:

בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

Fully accented polytonic Greek (fully composed, according to Internet recommendations):

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Enlarged display:

Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

Unaccented Greek:

Εν αρχη ην ο λογος, και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον, και θεος ην ο λογος.

Categories: , , ,

23 Comments:

At Wed Aug 24, 09:53:00 AM, Blogger Brandon Wason said...

The polytonic Gk works in both IE and FF on my computer.

 
At Wed Aug 24, 10:08:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

How about the first Hebrew line, Brandon (as well as the enlarged font line)? Do you get any blank boxes displayed now?

 
At Wed Aug 24, 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Talmida said...

I don't know if everyone else sees this, but in the accented Hebrew lines, the accents (cantillation marks?) are being given a space, as opposed to sitting beneath a letter. This is not the case in the previous post (Unicode Hebrew and Greek).

 
At Wed Aug 24, 03:40:00 PM, Blogger Tim said...

If you are using a style to set the font for Hebrew and Greek why not specify a cascade from font face="SBL Hebrew, SILEzra, Times, Arial" for the Hebrew at least the specialised (free) fonts do a much better job and those used to print Bibles will find the serifs of Times more familiar than Arial's sans serif characters...

 
At Wed Aug 24, 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I had the same problem as Talmida in both this post and the previous one. The only way to solve this is to use SBL Hebrew and/or Ezra SIL as Tim suggests - but not "SILEzra" but "Ezra SIL", Tim.

 
At Wed Aug 24, 03:52:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I strongly suspect that the site which Wayne suggests to "download Arial Unicode MS" is in fact offering copyrighted materials without permission. This is typical of sources of software etc in Russia.

 
At Wed Aug 24, 05:21:00 PM, Blogger Talmida said...

I have several Hebrew fonts in Word (they're on the disk that comes with MS Office, you just need a tutorial to figure out how to install them). I'm not sure they work in Blogger though.

*runs off to test fonts*

 
At Wed Aug 24, 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

I strongly suspect that the site which Wayne suggests to "download Arial Unicode MS" is in fact offering copyrighted materials without permission.

Thanks, Peter. I have deleted the link in my post. I don't want to contribute to illegal distribution of copyrighted fonts. I'm not clear on whether it is legal or not to d/l Arial Unicode MS from other websites. Might you know?

 
At Wed Aug 24, 06:21:00 PM, Blogger exegete77 said...

Howdy. Wayne, I have Mac OS X 10.3.9 with both Safari 1.3 and Firefox 1.06 with the SIL fonts installed. Both display the Greek and Hebrew correctly.

Well done.

 
At Wed Aug 24, 08:26:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Talmida said:

I have several Hebrew fonts in Word (they're on the disk that comes with MS Office, you just need a tutorial to figure out how to install them). I'm not sure they work in Blogger though.

Talmida, I'm no expert in this area. I did some stumbling around today with my experimenting. I do a lot of learning through stumbling around. But I *think* that Blogger should be able to display any font that is on your computer. You just have to specify the name for that particular font on the webpage or Blogger post. For me, the bigger issue is how compatible will that particular font be with the majority of Blogger visitors. I don't want to use fonts on this blog which few others have.

*runs off to test fonts*

Let us know the test results, if you care to, and have time.

 
At Wed Aug 24, 08:28:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

from Rich:

Howdy. Wayne, I have Mac OS X 10.3.9 with both Safari 1.3 and Firefox 1.06 with the SIL fonts installed. Both display the Greek and Hebrew correctly.

Oh, very good, Rich! Thanks for letting us know that, esp. since you are working with a Mac OS. We do want biblical language fonts to be as compatible with the most number of blog (and Internet) viewers as possible.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 03:27:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I understand that Arial Unicode MS is a copyrighted font which should not be available free, but only as part of Microsoft Office. And the same is probably true of the Hebrew fonts which Talmida mentions. The Hebrew font David is more widely available, as part of the basic Windows system I think, but has no support for accents and so doesn't help.

Anyway, I would not recommend Arial Unicode MS, whose support for Hebrew accents is so poor that you may as well put up with the empty boxes you get from Tahoma. Using Tahoma fixes the problem with polytonic Greek it seems - at least for Windows users, and apparently Rich has no problem on tha Mac.

Thank you, Rich, for confirming that the SIL fonts now work on the Mac. So I think we can now recommend that we use Tahoma for polytonic Greek (which is the default for the blog anyway), and Ezra SIL for accented Hebrew. This means that any readers of this blog who want to read the Hebrew properly need to install Ezra SIL, a free download from http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=EzraSIL_Home. Does that recommendation make sense? Wayne, if you agree, I suggest that you repeat this in the main part of a posting.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 03:33:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Concerning the update here: Rod Decker's page is helpful, although a little out of date. But his information on Hebrew refers only to unaccented Hebrew, which (as he says) is displayed reasonably well with Tahoma and Times New Roman - except that (defective) holam is displayed in its own space, because of technical limitations in older font technology.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 03:43:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

I wrote my 4:27 AM comment (not that early in the morning here in England!) before seeing the latest changes to the blog. Your recommendations make a lot of sense - and mean that I now get a good result in IE (used for test purposes only) as well as Firefox.

I would recommend specifying Gentium and perhaps Galatia SIL before Arial Unicode MS for polytonic Greek, as they look much better than Arial Unicode MS's very simplified outlines.

Of course all of your recommendations will give good results only to readers who install one of the listed Hebrew fonts (SBL Hebrew or Ezra SIL) and one of the listed Greek fonts (Gentium, Arial Unicode MS, I suggest adding Galatia SIL, Tahoma also works).

 
At Thu Aug 25, 07:32:00 AM, Blogger Talmida said...

Wayne, if I did copy and paste from the web, there was no problem keeping the cantillation marks, but as soon as I tried typing them, I got the blank boxes.

It's very odd. But I'm not very familiar with cantillation marks, and although my keyboard has excellent maps (Biblical Hebrew (Tiro)Keyboard)I suppose I may have mixed something up.

I'll try posting some of my other Hebrew fonts and I'll give you a shout to come and see if you can see them.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Talmida said...

Okay, Wayne, I've posted what I have here at The Lesser of Two Weevils. Come by and take a look (I found it worked much better if I increased text size to view the post).

 
At Thu Aug 25, 05:49:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Wayne, the way in which you have increased the text size, using "font-size:180%;", has the unfortunate side effect that the spacing between lines has not been increased in proportion, and so successive lines collide - in both Firefox and IE. I'm not sure why, but it is certainly annoying.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 09:36:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Wayne, the way in which you have increased the text size, using "font-size:180%;", has the unfortunate side effect that the spacing between lines has not been increased in proportion, and so successive lines collide - in both Firefox and IE. I'm not sure why, but it is certainly annoying.

To say the least, Peter!

I have checked with both IE and Firefox and no successive lines colide. Are you speaking of lines displayed in the BB Blog, or somewhere else?

Could you email me a screen shot of some lines colliding, if the file isn't too big, such as not more than approx. 300KB?

We need to check with others to see if they are getting the same thing.

 
At Thu Aug 25, 09:41:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Ahah, Peter, might you be referring to the two lines of the enlarged Greek? Yes, I can now see a tiny bit of touching between descenders on the first line and taller characters on the second line. It looks like the 180% enlargement doesn't increase line height adequately enough proportionally. I need to do some more experimenting, off-blog, trying to see what would be required to keep the lines from colliding.

 
At Fri Aug 26, 03:07:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

In the Greek text I see (in Firefox) the descender of the chi in ἀρχῇ almost obliterating the grave accent on τὸν. In the Hebrew, the last word wraps on to a new line, and the vowel points on וְאֵ֥ת intrude on to the space for ascenders and points above the line in הָאָֽרֶץ - it is only by chance that there is not an actual collision.

In fact when I look more closely I think that the line spacing has not actually been increased at all when the font size is increased. I think that the correct way to increase the font size is not "font-size" with a percentage but something else, unfortunately I don't know exactly what.

I note also that Hebrew text (at least, complete paragraphs rather than individual words) should be right justified so that word wraps appear in the right place. I don't know how this can be done in Blogger.

 
At Thu Sep 01, 05:50:00 AM, Blogger Mike Sangrey said...

Sorry I'm getting to this so late; but, in any case, I thought you would like to know that things look fine in FireFox on Linux.

 
At Sun Sep 25, 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Free/open source ancient Greek fonts (polytonic) can be found at
http://www.ellak.gr/fonts/mgopen/
Look for MgOpen Canonica.

Simos
http://simos.info/

 
At Sun Oct 02, 06:10:00 AM, Blogger jc said...

I suggest you post image files to let us know how the characters look like to you.

 

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