Gaelic script

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Latin script (Gaelic variant)
Type: Alphabet
Languages: Irish
Time period:  ?
ISO 15924 code: Latg

The term Gaelic script is a translation of the Irish phrase cló Gaelach (pronounced /kɫ̪oː ˈgeːɫ̪əx/) refers to a the family of insular typefaces devised for writing Irish and used between the 16th and 20th centuries. Sometimes, all Gaelic typefaces are called Celtic or uncial.

Contents

[edit] Characteristics

Overview of some Gaelic typefaces
Overview of some Gaelic typefaces

Besides the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, Gaelic typefaces must include any vowels with acute accents (Áá Éé Íí Óó Úú) as well as a set of consonants with dot above (Ḃḃ Ċċ Ḋḋ Ḟḟ Ġġ Ṁṁ Ṗṗ Ṡṡ Ṫṫ), and the Tironian sign et "", used for agus 'and' in Irish. Gaelic typefaces also often include insular forms of the letters s and r, and some of them contain a number of ligatures used in earlier Gaelic typography and deriving from the manuscript tradition. Lower-case i is drawn without a dot (though it is not the Turkish dotless ı), and the letters d, f, g, and t have insular shapes. Many modern Gaelic typefaces include Gaelic letterforms for the letters j, k, q, v, w, x, y, and z, and typically provide support for at least the vowels of the other Celtic languages. They also distinguish between & and (as did traditional typography), though some modern fonts mistakenly replace the ampersand with the Tironian note ostensibly because both mean 'and'.

[edit] Origin

The word "Corcaigh" in the Gaelic-script font of same name.
The word "Corcaigh" in the Gaelic-script font of same name.

The first Gaelic typeface was designed in 1571 for a catechism commissioned by Elizabeth I to help bring the Irish people to protestantism.

[edit] Use

Typesetting in Gaelic script remained common in Ireland until the mid-20th century. Gaelic script is today used merely for decorative typesetting; for example, a number of traditional Irish newspapers still print their name in Gaelic script on the first page, and it is also popular for pub signs, greeting cards, and display advertising. Edward Lhuyd's grammar of the Cornish language used Gaelic-script consonants to indicate sounds like [ð] and [θ].

[edit] Gaelic script in Unicode

In Unicode, the insular G, namely "" (image:Insular_G.GIF), is encoded uniquely because it is used alongside regular (non-Gaelic) Latin characters for certain purposes, usually phonetic transcription.

[edit] Samples

Duibhlinn (digital font 1993, based on Monotype Series 24 A, 1906)
Duibhlinn (digital font 1993, based on Monotype Series 24 A, 1906)
Ceanannas (digital font 1993, based on drawings of Book of Kells lettering by Arthur Baker.
Ceanannas (digital font 1993, based on drawings of Book of Kells lettering by Arthur Baker.

The first Irish sentence in each figure, Chuaigh bé mhórshách le dlúthspád fíorfhinn trí hata mo dhea-phorcáin bhig, is a pangram meaning 'A greatly satisfied woman went with a truly white dense spade through the hat of my good little well-fattened pig'. The second sentence reads Duibhlinn/Ceanannas an cló a úsáidtear anseo 'Duibhlinn/Ceannanas is the font used here'. The second sentence uses the short forms of the letters r and s; the first uses the long forms.

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources, external links


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