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RFI-YourUseOfFontsForAfricanLangs | ... in the spirit of service


(from the list of my contributions to the Bantu-L list; recovered from own files or crossposts

RFI- your use of fonts for African lang's (short questionnaire)
Sat, 9 Jul 2005

Greetings! I am in the process of writing a paper on use/non-use of Unicode fonts among linguists and other specialists working with African languages(esp. those whose transcription requires use of special characters or non-Latin scripts). This is part of a larger interest in facilitating wider use of information and communication technologies in African languages, motivated in part by the thoughts that 1) African language specialists and programs have a potentially significant role to play in developing a positive environment for multilingual computing and internet in Africa (by virtue of their status as experts in the field, their access to technology, and their links with colleagues and institutions in Africa), and 2) the Unicode standard - often misunderstood but increasingly used - is the only basis in which text in multiple languages of Africa can be across platforms, software, and the internet.

The paper will be presented at the next Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC28) in September. I will be glad to share it with any who are interested.

In any event, my request for information is only about personal use of fonts for research and teaching, and aimed at providing a broader base of information. For that purpose I append a set of questions below. Thank you in advance for your responses (and please mail to me offline, and not the list).


Don Osborn, Ph.D.
*Bisharat! A language, technology & development initiative
*Bisharat! Initiative langues - technologie - développement


Have you used Unicode or 8-bit fonts for African languages previously?

What is your primary use of African languages on computer: class materials/handouts, desktop publication, production for formal publication, web content, e-mail, other?

If you use Unicode fonts,
- when did that begin?
- was that a deliberate decision (perhaps a change from a previous kind of font) or just use of what was available on the system you use (i.e., already installed)?

How has use of Unicode facilitated your work?

What problems have you encountered in using or attempting to use Unicode fonts?

What is(are) the font(s) you use for African language work?

What is(are) the operating system(s) you use when working on/in African languages?

Bantu-l mailing list

For more mailinglists re African languages, see:
*Bisharat! A language, technology & development initiative


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