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Typesetting African languages


This Web page provides a description of the 54-page document "Typesetting African languages"

Most African languages with a writing system use a modification of the Roman alphabet; the systems were often the invention of Christian missionaries, though some have been devised by government commissions since decolonisation.

The "authors" of these new writing systems usually aimed to make spellings logical and consistent by providing a written sign for each consonant or vowel sound in the language, and this often led to the adoption of newly- created letterforms that are easy to write by hand, but are not available in standard fonts for typesetting.

In writing up this report, I have aimed it at readers who do not know much about how typesetting is handled today in PC-based "desktop publishing" and word processing systems. I have aimed to explain the issues, and some solutions, in simple language and with a wealth of illustration.

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