Contrastive use of kratka and breve

Jean-François Colson jf at
Thu Jul 3 02:39:19 CDT 2014

Le 03/07/14 01:23, Philippe Verdy a écrit :
> The angle and form (straight or curved, with wedge, with rounded bowl 
> or not, attached or detached from the letter) of the acute accent is 
> not really defined, all variants are possible, including the 
> Czech/Polish form.
> All that matters is the main direction of slanting. The only 
> unacceptable rendering is a pure horizontal or vertical form (but 
> there still exists some typographic styles, mostly used in logos) that 
> use horizontal strokes not distinguishing visuelly the acute and grave 
> accents, notably over capitals (this is acceptable for short titles or 
> headings and for trademarks, whose exact orthography is not very important
> And even more on capitals notably at start of words, where there's no 
> ambiguity in French as it can only be É with acute; the distinction of 
> acute and grave accents in French only occurs over letter e, which is 
> the only one using an acute accent; and there's never any grace accent 
> over e at start of words;

Rarely, but not never: èbe, èche, ère, ès, Ève

> The curcumflex over E can also be easily infered from the same glyph 
> at start of words, it occurs only in wellknown words like the 
> auxiliary verb "Être".) For this reason the French accents are 
> frequently flat if they are present over capitals. The grave accent 
> occurs on initial capitals only in the preprosition "À" where the 
> grave accent is also non ambiguous, the only one possible, so it can 
> be flattened too. At end of words (or before final mute letters 
> (e)(s), this is only "é" with acute (there's no "è" with grabe and no 
> "ê" with circumflex).

There are at least agapè, koinè, korê, psychè... But it's true that a 
rendering similar to agape-, koine-, kore-, psyche- doesn't make them 

> Also I really doubt that the Polish/Czech accents were unified with 
> accents in French, I would probably bet on Italian or even Spanish, 
> from their presence in the Spanish Netherlands and contacts with 
> hanseatic ligues in harbours of the Northern Sea up to the Baltic with 
> influence on the Prussian kingdom (Spanish and Italian both have acute 
> accents over all important vowels; but no grave, no circumflex in 
> Italian, so it can be flattened as well), but Italian fonts have 
> originately used more vertical shapes.
> I think that what made the Czrch and Polish accents more vertical was 
> their use of double accents side by side rather than on top of each other.
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