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Department of Linguistics


Phonetic Fonts: Testing "Charis SIL " Font

Robert Mannell, 2012

In the following table columns 1 and 2 represent the decimal (base 10: digits=0-9) and hexadecimal (base 16: digits=0-9,A-F) value of the character in the Unicode standard. Column 3 contains a graphical image of each character as it should look except that the images are coloured grey. Also note that some combining characters, or "diacritics", are displayed with a grey dotted "o". The grey dotted "o" is included so that you can see the position of each diacritic relative to a preceding character. Column 4 contains the actual font being tested as displayed by the current browser (note that the diacritics are displayed in this column with a black solid "o").

If the font is being displayed accurately then the characters in columns 3 and 4 should look identical with the exception of the following non-significant differences:-

  • grey characters in column 3 and black characters in column 4
  • grey dotted "o" versus the black solid "o" associated with the diacritics
  • there might also be slight differences of font size and weight
Unicode (Decimal) Unicode (Hexadecimal) Graphic Image Charis SIL
97 0061 a
98 0062 b
99 0063 c
100 0064 d
101 0065 e
102 0066 f
103 0067

Don't use this character. Use 609/0261.

104 0068 h
105 0069 i
106 006A j
107 006B k
108 006C l
109 006D m
110 006E n
111 006F o
112 0070 p
113 0071 q
114 0072 r
115 0073 s
116 0074 t
117 0075 u
118 0076 v
119 0077 w
120 0078 x
121 0079 y
122 007A z
230 00E6 æ
231 00E7 ç
240 00F0 ð
248 00F8 ø
295 0127 ħ
331 014B ŋ
339 0153 œ
448 01C0 ǀ
449 01C1 ǁ
450 01C2 ǂ
451 01C3 ǃ
592 0250 ɐ
593 0251 ɑ
594 0252 ɒ
595 0253 ɓ
596 0254 ɔ
597 0255 ɕ
598 0256 ɖ
599 0257 ɗ
601 0259 ə
603 025B ɛ
604 025C ɜ
607 025F ɟ
608 0260 ɠ
609 0261 ɡ
610 0262 ɢ
611 0263 ɣ
612 0264 ɤ
613 0265 ɥ
614 0266 ɦ
615 0267 ɧ
616 0268 ɨ
618 026A ɪ
619 026B ɫ
620 026C ɬ
621 026D ɭ
622 026E ɮ
623 026F ɯ
624 0270 ɰ
625 0271 ɱ
626 0272 ɲ
627 0273 ɳ
628 0274 ɴ
629 0275 ɵ
630 0276 ɶ
632 0278 ɸ
633 0279 ɹ
634 027A ɺ
635 027B ɻ
637 027D ɽ
638 027E ɾ
640 0280 ʀ
641 0281 ʁ
642 0282 ʂ
643 0283 ʃ
644 0284 ʄ
648 0288 ʈ
649 0289 ʉ
650 028A ʊ
651 028B ʋ
652 028C ʌ
653 028D ʍ
654 028E ʎ
655 028F ʏ
656 0290 ʐ
657 0291 ʑ
658 0292 ʒ
660 0294 ʔ
661 0295 ʕ
664 0298 ʘ
665 0299 ʙ
667 029B ʛ
668 029C ʜ
669 029D ʝ
671 029F ʟ
673 02A1 ʡ
674 02A2 ʢ
688 02B0
690 02B2
695 02B7
700 02BC
712 02C8
716 02CC
720 02D0
721 02D1
734 02DE
736 02E0
737 02E1
740 02E4
741 02E5 ˥
742 02E6 ˦
743 02E7 ˧
744 02E8 ˨
745 02E9 ˩
768 0300
769 0301
770 0302
771 0303
772 0304
774 0306
776 0308
778 030A
779 030B
780 030C
783 030F
792 0318
793 0319
794 031A
796 031C
797 031D
798 031E
799 031F
800 0320
804 0324
805 0325
809 0329
810 032A
812 032C
815 032F
816 0330
825 0339
826 033A
827 033B
829 033D
865 0361 o͡o
946 03B2 β
952 03B8 θ
967 03C7 χ
8593 2191
8595 2193
8599 2197
8600 2198

The images in this table are used with the permission of Richard Ishida (W3C)

Missing Characters

Some browsers display missing characters as a narrow vertical rectangle rather than as the intended character. Most often, these days, the system looks for a font with the missing character and displays that character instead. Such an inserted character may look very different in size or style from the intended font. This may very often be useful when browsing, but it makes the testing of phonetic fonts far more difficult as it can be hard to tell, sometimes, whether a character came from the expected font or some other font.

Serif and Sans Serif Fonts

image comparing sefif and sans serif fonts

You can see that the serif font has additional small details at the ends of vertical and horizontal strokes of each character. The sans serif font lacks these details. For most Western European characters these extra details on the serif fonts are non-significant stylistic features that don't change the identity of the character. Unfortunately, some of Microsoft's earlier attempts at Unicode fonts left off details that are essential to the identity of certain phonetic characters. For example, the vowel in the word "hit" when transcribed phonetically and displayed using certain older MS unicode fonts chopped off the phonetically essential top and bottom horizontal lines (which had presumably been thought to be mere serifs by the font designers). They have fixed these problems in very recent fonts but the fonts with these errors are still widespread. For example, the newer Arial Unicode MS font (supplied with Office 2007) doesn't have the problem but Arial (the version supplied with Vista) still has this problem. In the following image the left hand (incorrect) transcription was done with Arial (the version supplied with Windows Vista) and the right hand (correct) transcription was done with Arial Unicode MS (version supplied with MS Office 2007). Note, however, that the much older MS font, Lucida Sans Unicode didn't make this error.

image comparing the word hit displayed using two microsoft fonts

Using Serif and Sans Serif to Test the Phonetic Font

The web pages on this site have been set up so that when phonetic text is encountered the system looks for fonts in the following order:-

  1. Charis SIL
  2. Doulos SIL
  3. Lucida Grande (Macintosh font)
  4. Lucida Sans Unicode (Windows font)
  5. Arial (widespread cross platform font)
  6. Helvetica (widespread cross platform font)
  7. sans-serif (generic font face family)

The first two (1-2) are serif fonts. All of the others (3-7) are sans serif fonts.

Your web browser will look for each in turn and will use the first one it finds. If it finds a font, but not a particular required character, then it should look for that character in the fonts lower on the list. This would result in a sans serif character in the midst of serif characters. Care has been taken to ensure that the characters used in this page are found in all of the first four fonts. Unless you have a Linux system or a very old Mac or Windows machine you should at least have one of 3 or 4 by default.

So, if you do have Charis SIL (or Doulos SIL) installed you will see serif characters in phonetic transcriptions on this site. If you don't have Charis SIL (or Doulos SIL) installed you will see the phonetic transcriptions as sans serif characters.

I Know Charis SIL is Installed but I Still Can't See It! (or it Looks Wrong)

Firstly, make sure you aren't using Internet Explorer (version 7 or earlier). This browser doesn't display some phonetic characters properly no matter how you set up IE (version 7 or earlier). The fonts are displayed correctly by Internet Exploer (version 8 or later).

If you are using one of the preferred browsers, you have just installed the font, but it doesn't look right (or doesn't seem to be installed), then you are probably viewing a cached version of the page (a saved copy of the version you looked at previously). Refresh the page and the phonetic characters should appear. If that doesn't work then restart your browser. If that doesn't work then try re-booting your machine. If all else fails try clearing your browser's cache. On Firefox you can choose to clear only your "Cache" (by unchecking the other tick boxes), whilst on Internet Explorer you can choose to only delete "Temporary Internet Files". The procedure should be similar for Safari. If these steps don't work then check your font folder and see if the font is actually in that folder (if it isn't then it hasn't been installed). If you don't know how to do these tasks, ask a friend who does (only ask me as a last resort).