[Spellyans] Cornish fonts

John Nash mim.oldwellstudio at btinternet.com
Sat Aug 28 13:19:01 BST 2010

Thanks Ken - your point about using celtic scripts is really what  
prompted my original question. I do use lettering based upon these  
within some of my creative work, prompted by my interest in the early  
British, and especially the early Cornish, church. Although these are  
basically just decorative pieces or paintings which don't make any  
claims to historical 'purity', I would prefer to avoid obvious  
gaffes. Using 'celtic'  lettering for Latin texts seemed to me in  
historical context, as there are a host of manuscripts  to use as  
exemplars, but there doesn't seem to be anything similar from this  
period featuring Cornish. Whether this is because none ever existed,  
or whether none survived the depredations of the Reformation, I don't  
The script used for the Ordinalia is certainly very beautiful - I've  
only had time for a quick browse, but apart from its provenance as to  
it place of origin, I'm not sure that it has anything stylistically  
that defines it as uniquely Cornish. I may well be talking out of the  
wrong orifice here, as I'm no expert on 15th century scripts, but at  
first glance it seems to fall stylistically into the mainstream of  
English cursive book hands from the period. No doubt there are others  
that have studied it in depth. There are already typefaces inspired  
by similar book hands of this period, but I agree, it would be good  
to see one specifically derived from the Ordinalia.
I also found Ceri's contribution re typographic advice on the use of  
Cornish in a modern context very useful.
Sorry if starting this thread is perhaps a bit off message for this  
Oll an gwella

On 28 Aug 2010, at 11:19, Ken MacKinnon wrote:

> Ceri et al,
> many thanks for this very useful guidance.
> It always jars on me when 'Celtic' i.e. early Gaelic scripts are  
> used for Cornish.  It is ananchronistic and ectopic
> I very much hope that a suitable indigenous traditional script for  
> Cornish can be developed for decorative and language display purposes.
> - Ken
> Ken MacKinnon is now on Broadband  with new e-mail addresses:-
> ken at ferintosh.org
> and also at:-
> ken.ferintosh at googlemail.com
> My former e-mail addresses are no longer able to be used.
> (Prof) Ken MacKinnon
> Ivy Cottage, Ferintosh,
> The Black Isle, by Dingwall,
> Ross-shire  IV 7 8HX
> Scotland  UK
> Tel: 01349 - 863460
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Ceri Young
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list
> Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 2:27 PM
> Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Cornish fonts
> Font useage is quite an interesting topic to raise in a forum  
> developing KS because of its useage of diacrits which aren't  
> supported by a substantial number of fonts, and which would surely  
> present some problems to those who'd wish to use KS in desktop  
> publishing without particular expertise in typesetting.
> Obviously, this problem exists in Welsh too - the Welsh Language  
> Board's website has issued PDF advice guides on the graphical  
> presentation of Welsh and how to tackle problems involved in Welsh  
> typography; using fonts which don't support the language's peculiar  
> diacrits such as circumflexes over 'y' or 'w' characters etc. - so  
> the guides contain some basic advice on how to kern a circumflex  
> over a plain letter form. Other advice in the guides concerns best  
> practice guidelines for the graphical layout of bilingual  
> literature, or how to choose fonts which take into account Welsh's  
> higher frequency of characters with stems & tails ('ascenders' &  
> 'descenders') than is evident in English - or kerning where letter  
> combinations of 'yw' or 'wy' require cosmetic adaptations to the  
> font settings.
> If it's of interest to anybody, (and while I have no idea if the  
> Cornish Language Board publishes similar advice to graphic  
> designers) I've attached two of the more recent of such PDF guides  
> issued by the Welsh Language Board to this post. I think there's  
> definitely a few points of in these which might be of interest to  
> those who write Revived Cornish, and indeed; KS.
> Oll an gwella,
> Ceri
> From: John Nash <mim.oldwellstudio at btinternet.com>
> To: Standard Cornish discussion list <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> Sent: Fri, 27 August, 2010 0:49:19
> Subject: [Spellyans] Cornish fonts
> I suppose this request is really directed mainly at Michael  
> Everson, but any information from members of this forum would be  
> appreciated. Compared with Welsh and Irish, indigenous calligraphic  
> source material for style reference is, to say the least, a bit  
> thin on the ground for Cornish - are there as yet any specifically  
> recommended fonts for display lettering in Cornish?
> John Nash
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