Font Sandbox

Don’t mind this post: here, I am writing out some Hebrew characters, some transliteration of Hebrew, and some Greek characters, just so I can look at them while I mess around with font stacks and browsers.

‏בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ׃ וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם

bĕrēʾšît bārāʾ ʾĕlōhîm ʾēt-haššāmayim wĕʾēt hāʾāreṣ wĕhāreṣ hāytâ tōhû wābōhû wĕḥōšek ʿal-pĕnê tĕhôm

ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν ἡ δὲ γῆ ἦν ἀόρατος καὶ ἀκατασκεύαστος καὶ σκότος ἐπάνω τῆς ἀβύσσου

(Hm, I wonder why I cannot input an upsilon with a circumflex?)[edit: Turns out to be a Camino thing]

Okay, move on, nothing to see. That said, if you have interesting observations about what you see, by all means comment with a description, as well as your OS and browser information. At this point, I’ve added no font information to the HTML of this post, so these Unicode samples of text are defaulting to the template defaults. Thank you!


6 Responses

  1. Hey, looking forward to following the blog.

    Question. Do you (or anyone else for that matter) know or have a suggestion for Hebrew fonts that would work on a blog? I am at .blogspot, so I don’t know if that presents an issue or not. Do I need to know html for it to work? Or are there certain fonts I could easily get to work?

    Many thanks!

  2. Hi John, great to see you here.

    I’m using Unicode to do the Hebrew, Greek, and transliteration. In principle, this means that I can use just one Unicode font for all the writing on the blog (including plain English), though as yet no Unicode font really has quite everything.

    I have the Style Sheet of the blog set so that a user’s browser will use Lucida Sans Unicode (Windows) or Lucida Grande (Mac), falling back on Arial if those fonts are absent. I do my actual typing in Lucida Grande (Mac). I don’t know what control you have over the Style Sheet at Blogspot, but I see that your Style Sheet defaults to Trebuchet and Verdana (lovely fonts, just not Unicode fonts as far as I know). If you include Hebrew on your blog, you could write the Hebrew in a Unicode font, then wrap a “span” tag around the Hebrew selection specifying a Unicode font.

    If you’re new to Unicode, the main thing will be to learn how to get your keyboard to become a Hebrew “keyboard” when you want to type Hebrew. Info on that is available at these pages (the second has links to different Windows OSs):

    You can see all my web links to info on Unicode fonts and biblical languages and transliteration here:

    Hope this helps. You may know much of it already, or if not, it may be TMI and a little overwhelming. Feel free to check in again on this comment thread. As my first commenter at Anumma, you are entitled to full customer service!


  3. Good deal. It is a little over my head. I have no knowledge of html (though my wife is trained as a graphic designer, so she likely knows a thing or two).

    I am unclear how I may adapt .blogspot’s settings to enable Hebrew and Greek to work. I will look at the links you provide. Sadly, I must confess ignorance regarding what is meant by ‘unicode’ font (although I can deduce from the name what it means); I just am unclear how that gets me Hebrew characters.

    All the best!

  4. Hi John,
    One nice thing about Unicode is, you’ll end up using it both for Web writing and regular word processing. Think of it this way: the “old” fonts would each have about 100 “cubby holes”: one for each character in a single alphabet. So, we’d have one font for English, one for Russian, one for Hebrew, and so on. Then if we wanted to share electronic files with one another, we’d have to tell our reader to install of the foreign language fonts that we chose to use: “Install onto your computer my Hebrew font, my transliteration font, my Greek font.” We’d all have to have like six different Hebrew fonts installed to read documents from a handful of friends who all used different Hebrew fonts.

    A single Unicode font doesn’t have only about 100 “cubby holes”; it has thousands of cubby holes, enough to contain the characters of dozens of different language scripts. Furthermore, every operating system comes with some Unicode fonts already pre-installed. So, I could write a document in Lucida Grande (Mac) with Hebrew, Greek, and transliteration. When you open it (probably in Windows), your operating system will render it in Lucida Sans Unicode (the Windows font most nearly corresponding to my font), and you’ll see all the scripts just fine.

    That brings us to input: when writing in (let’s say) Lucida Sans Unicode, if you want to switch from English to Hebrew, you need to “tell” the Operating System to reach into the Hebrew set of “cubby holes” in the font. We do this by “changing keyboards”: that is, by telling the operating system to treat your computer’s keyboard as if it were a Hebrew keyboard instead of a Roman-character keyboard. This is where my links about “keyboards” come in.

    Hopefully, that serves as enough of an introduction to Unicode to get you started on following links and reading stuff. I would say, first worry about regular word processing, not Web stuff. Once you’re writing Word documents with Unicode, switching “keyboards” to go from Hebrew to Greek to transliteration, then you can turn your attention to doing the same thing on a Web page.

    The nice things is, Unicode is still very new, so that we’re all beginners together!

  5. This makes more sense. I will peek at the links when time permits and hopefully figure it out.


  6. it is very difficult to find Hebrew fonts, looking forward though

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