Friday, April 23, 2004

Unicode: Tyndale Tech and some thoughts on Greek

David Instone-Brewer has uploaded to the web the latest of his Tyndale Tech newsletters (with thanks to Jim Davila on Paleojudaica for the alert). The topic is unicode, and especially unicode for Hebrew. As ever, it is full of useful bits and bobs:

Greek and Hebrew Fonts: Unicode and Older

I think my own experience of working with unicode is more positive than David's and for two reasons, first that I work with Greek a lot but Hebrew only a little and second that I work with PCs and not Macs. There are a few things I would add from my own experience and which may prove helpful to others:

(1) Palatino Linotype: if you are running Windows 2000 or XP you arleady have a unicode font installed called Palatino Linotype. This includes a Greek character set (not all unicode fonts do) and it looks excellent on both screen and paper. The reason that this is worth mentioning is that if you are running Windows 2000 or XP and require a really good Greek font, then you don't have to do anything.

(2) Inputting the text. This is the big issue. I have been using this excellent facility for some time now:

Unicode Classical Greek Inputter

This is designed by James Naughton and provides a very straightforward facility for you to type in unicode and then to copy and paste into your document. You can choose your preferred font (Arial Unicode MS, Cardo, Gentium, Palatino Linotype etc.). If you prefer mouse-clicking to typing, you can do that too. An additional advantage of this web page is that you can save it onto your hard drive and access it whenever or wherever you want, without being connected to the internet. So it's worth saving now while one has the chance -- it might not be there in a year's time!

(3) Quotations from the Greek New Testament: If in a given document you are simply writing out quotations from the Greek New Testament, there is no need to type this afresh. Here there are several options:

(a) Search or browse on The Unbound Bible, choosing "NA26, Accents (Unicode)" and copy and paste the results into your document.

(b) Do the same at the Online Greek Bible, choosing either "Athena" or "Palatino Linotype".

(c) Go to James Naughton's Unicode Classical Greek page and download the complete text of the Greek New Testament in an HTML help file or PDF. The advantage of this is that you can store it locally and use off-line.

Update (19.23): Paul Nikkel comments in Deinde on the Tyndale Tech email and the comments in Paleojudaica. He comments that "Actually the current Mac OS has Unicode support and as far as I know has had it since OS 8.5 or so. Also, contrary to the Tyndale article OpenType fonts are supported on the Mac OS X as far as I know, Mac Developers Article." Read more . . . . .

Update (Saturday, 22.24): Rubén Gómez comments in Biblical Software Review Weblog.

Update (Saturday, 22.32): Jim Davila comments in Paleojudaica. Minor note: Jim comments on Deinde, "If there's a way to link to individual posts on his site, I couldn't find it". You click on the "View comments" link and that gives you an URL for that post plus any subsequent comments on it.

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