[sword-devel] Luther1545

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Wed Jun 18 20:51:25 MST 2008

Peter von Kaehne wrote:
> DM Smith wrote:
>> I have curiosity questions. Is it that it is actually the letter 'V'  
>> or is it the letter 'U', but the glyph is looks like the letter 'V'?
> I think the glyphs are used interchangably - a V shape is often used for
> an u in the begin of a word, but equally where a v is correct - while a
> U shape might stand where v or u would be. I und J are certainly one
> letter/interchangably used - indeed the greek name for the I - iota is
> used in German for the name of the J - Jot.

Printers of this era typically had 4 different glyphs total for the set 
U, V, W, u, v, & w. U & V/u & v were basically positional variants of 
one another (but in earlier days were used even more interchangeably and 
basically according to the typesetter's whim or the printer's personal 
spelling convention). W and w were simply set as VV and vv.

Going back much further, all six derive from Latin V, which served as 
consonant [v], vowel [u], and semi-vowel [w].

The corresponding situation also holds for I/J, which derive from Latin 
I and served as both vowel [i] and semi-vowel [j].

> I found this image file which is quite interesting:
> http://www.bible-researcher.com/luthercomma.jpg
> Look at the behaviour of the S - begin and inside words it looks like a
> f, but at the end it looks like an s.

Long s (ſ U+017F) still appears today as the left half of the letter ß, 
which comes from a ligature of ſ and z (or ʒ).

> Not looked long enough and at enough original text to say whether there
> are more letters getting shaped, but I would not be surprised.

Have a look at the umlauts (e.g. in grösser at the end of the 4th line). 
  These would require, e.g., U+0364 (http://www.decodeunicode.org/u+0364).

> Taking the glyph shaping into account I would think the version we have
> is wrong as it tries to imitate this by using v and u - I have not seen
> enough, but I think overall a straight use of U only for both letters
> would be more correct - but equally difficult to read for some.

I've never seen or heard of anyone encoding texts like these with an 
assumption of glyph shaping by the renderer. Most people encode the text 
as it appears. Some will modernize so that u means [u] and v means [v] 
and [w] is rendered by w.

>> For example, in the original KJV, the letter 's' often was a long  
>> swoopy 'f' looking character. I would imagine that if we were to ever  
>> encode the original KJV, that we would not use the letter 'f' but a  
>> code point for the character that looks like it.
>> (Some day, I'd like to have the original KJV as a SWORD module.)

I believe the 1611 KJV is usually encoded with u, v, w, i, & j encoded 
as they appear on the page, but s & ſ are folded as s. I suppose we 
could mirror the original orthography entirely and create a modernized 
derivative. I don't know whether it would be possible to do the 
modernization at run time via ICU transliteration.


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