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Typographie (was: Re: Comparison of philosophical languages)

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 21, 2003, 13:02
En réponse à Danny Wier <dawier@...>:

> > Ever wonder why the French word for "font" (as in TrueType, OpenType, > PostScript) is |police|? ~Danny~ >
Well, couldn't find an etymology, but it could be related to "police" where English uses "policy", as in insurances (the Hachette dictionary implies so by grouping those two meanings together, but doesn't give an etymology). For what is worth, I looked a little bit at the French terminology for typography, and found out it was not completely identical to the English one. For instance, French also has the term "fonte", but this one is not completely synonym with "police". Some terms: "famille": family. Same meaning in French and English. "graisse": bold face. The "Light", "Bold" or "Black" after the name of the font ;)) . "style" or "type": ditto in English. "Roman", "Slanted" or "Italic" are examples of styles. "chasse": "width". Like "bold face" refers to the size of the lines, "width" refers to the size of the white in between the lines. Those are things like "Narrow" or "Large". "caractère": "font" (well, not exactly. It's more equivalent to "characteritic"). A "caractère" is a group of characters sharing the same "style" and "graisse". As such, it doesn't refer to one single font but to a group of fonts which differ only by width (two fonts of the same "caractère" may differ by one being "Narrow" and the other "Large"). Note that the English "character" is more exactly "caractère d'imprimerie", or simply "caractère", but typographs seem not to mind the ambiguity. The term "fonte" is synonymous to "caractère", even if it's also often used as synonymous to "police", incorrectly here. "police": "font". A "police" is a group of characters sharing the same "style", "graisse" and "chasse", and thus the exact equivalent to "font". Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.


John Cowan <jcowan@...>