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You are here: Home / Conferences / Montréal 2017 / Programme

Type design for american native languages: four case studies

When Sat 16 Sep 1030
Where UQAM, Cœur des sciences
Who Jose Manuel Lopez Rocha

It is estimated that there are over 1,000 indigenous languages still alive in the Americas today. In Mexico alone, there are 68 languages from 11 linguistic families that make up 364 variants.

Numerous measures have been taken to include these linguistic communities in modern, text-based forms of communication. Such measures are intended to reverse the vanishing process of these languages, and to encourage its speakers to revitalize their tongues through writing.

Typographical representation remains a challenge within this process, and only recently has it been recognized by type designers as an important issue in need of a solution.

In this presentation, I provide four design solutions that address the various difficulties surrounding the written representation of different native tongues. One of these can be applied to the Woun-Meu language of Colombia, one to the Mixe language of Mexico, while the remaining two can be applied to multiple Mexican languages. Each of these solutions takes both visual and linguistic components into account in the design and programming of these fonts.

Some of these projects required the additional design and development of keyboard layouts and automatic text replacement through OpenType code in order to quickly access complex symbols, including those without an assigned Unicode number.

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