Follow

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

if you use Linux and you like languages, chances are you’ve struggled to find fonts that give good panlinguistic support. Unicode combining characters, for example, remain poorly supported in most popular fonts. Phonetic characters are only included in a few.

if you look into which free fonts have good coverage, you’ve probably found Junicode, which is great but too mediæval manuscript-like for most computer users (I mean no kink-shaming but most of us want a bit higher x-height in our UIs); and, in modern times, Google's android fonts like Noto/Roboto. some ugly computer-generated stuff with no typographers involved.

and SIL. there's some pretty great fonts labelled SIL something, like Charis SIL or Doulos SIL, great for printed articles and with good coverage of non-European linguistic orthographies. Charis may be the best IPA font I’ve ever seen, does better even than (commercial) Brill at complex, combining IPA.

let’s talk about what the "SIL" here means.

Wikipedia’s introductory paragraph is good…

> SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) is a Christian non-profit organization, whose main purpose is to study, develop and document languages, especially those that are lesser-known, in order to expand linguistic knowledge, promote literacy, translate the Christian Bible into local languages, and aid minority language development.

…so we know already this is a Trojan horse, these are missionaries i.e. they want to befriend indigenous folk in order to Christianize them. we get a lot of endangered language documentation, fieldwork recordings and data from SIL. At the cost of cultural genocide. (a concept they deny, and rephrase as "cultural progress"). It’s like catching pretty butterflies to display their beautiful dead bodies in a glass case.

But it gets funkier. SIL was founded by William Cameron Townsend, a Presbyterian missionary. One of his core beliefs was the Great Commission doctrine: that Jesus charged Christians with the mission to spread the word of God to all nations. Townsend’s revelatory experience was that ‘nations’ here isn’t supposed to be all political countries, but all ethnic groups. All individual cultures.

All languages.

So he founds Wycliffe Bible Translations, with the goal of translating the Word to every single language in existence. And the Summer Institute of Linguistics as a front organisation, with a façade of ecumenism and downplaying the missionarism, to learn what is necessary from undocumented languages. So that the Wycliffe institute can translate the Bible into those, too.

After all, only after every living person in the world has heard the Good News will they be able to take a stand, with God or against. Currently they’re about halfway through the world’s 7 thousand something languages.

What happens when you get the Bible readable into every possible language, and every person of every nation has heard the Good News? That’s right. Second Coming.

I’m not making this up:
SIL International is a cabal of Christian linguists doing language documentation with the goal of ending the world.

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla this is wild. I had no idea

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla yeah lots of evangelical missions stuff is focused on specific "people" groups and languages and deciding which ones to target and which ones are "unreached" based on how many converts they've made from those people groups

My family is very involved in this and every year they have calendars with a different "people group" on it for every day saying how many people there are and its "status" and to pray for them

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla this is some neal stephenson novel antagonist shit, whoa

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla who would have guessed that conlang-ers are doing what it takes to hold back the End Times

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla

Reminds me of The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke:

Text: urbigenous.net/library/nine_bi

Audio: youtube.com/watch?v=9Ci3l53Ikq

silly re about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla coming up with new languages to catch their attention so they'll stay away from endangered languages

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla this is also why they don’t care about anything else like global warming. They are obsessed with getting everyone killed. They get involved in politics around the world, trying to make everyone join their death cult. They are not good people.

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla SIL aside, I don't like the SIL fonts that much.

(Junicode is pretty nice IMO, but doesn't work for everything.)

Try the Iosevka fonts, they're pretty nice. I use these a lot for 'interface' fonts; not so much for typesetting fonts.

The Linux Libertine and Biolinum fonts (serif and sans serif, respectively; in newer versions under the names Libertinus Serif and Libertinus Sans Serif) aren't bad.

I like some of the Computer Modern fonts, in their Unicode versions, particularly the Sans Serif and Concrete ones.

There's also the Fira fonts.

some more rambling along these lines here: https://babbagefiles.xyz/beautiful-and-free-typefaces/

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@emacsomancer
I use Iosevka for code, but I wouldn’t use them for UI/proportional stuff. Fira is cute (I use Iosevka SS05, the Fira clone) but has poor extended character/combining support.

For writing articles I often do Brill with Charis SIL as a fallback for tricker IPA when Brill can’t handle it.

I really, really dislike Computer Modern at a visceral level.

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla Iosevka now has some semi-proportional variants, Aile and Etoile, which aren't bad (I use them in UIs some places), and are nice for retaining legibility down to pretty small sizes (the Ubuntu font also fares well on this count).

Brill is one I've looked at before, I think it's good - it passes all of my combining characters tests, though for some reason I'm having difficulties getting LaTeX to set Brill in italic (though I can see the font itself has italic variants). So I'll have to figure that out.

Charis SIL seems to have very different heights &c. than Brill. Do you tweak sizes or something when combining them? Something always looks a bit off to me for a lot of the SIL fonts, though I'm not sure what it is.

(One other font is Bembo, but it lacks something - I can't remember. Maybe it's italics or bold?)

I'm not, if I'm being fully honest, completely happy with Computer Modern Roman/Serif, especially for onscreen reading. (a) I'm not sure how much I like late 19th-c. early 20th-c. didones, though I get that Knuth chose this style because of mathematics books using this type of typeface; (b) the thin strokes tend to disappear on-screen and even on paper unless it's a good high dpi printing.

But I do in general have a positive reaction to seeing Computer Modern, because it correlates with LaTeX, and I like some of the non-Roman, non-didone variants quite a bit.

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@emacsomancer @elilla I'm a fan of DejaVu fonts. Their IPA coverage is AFAICT complete and their unicode coverage is pretty good. All of their varieties are nice and legible, esp. the Condensed Sans/Serif/Mono.

One thing I dislike with the default font of LaTeX, IDK if it's Computer Modern for sure, but the bowls of most letters extend beyond the baseline, which becomes uneven, and it hurts my eyes. IDK if it's b/c I'm astigmatic.

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@cadadr The DejaVu fonts do have really good coverage in general, including IPA, but their combining characters aren't very good, at least in LaTeX.

I also don't like the DejaVu Serif or Sans very much aesthetically, but the Mono sans is very nice and works well (including combining characters) in Emacs and I used DejaVu Sans Mono for many years before switching to Iosevka.

The default 'plain' (La)TeX fonts are indeed the Computer Modern series of fonts (which aren't Unicode), and since TeX defaults to roman, the LaTeX default is Computer Modern Roman. The default Xe(La)TeX and Lua(La)TeX fonts are the Latin Modern series (which are re-done Unicode versions of Computer Modern, with some changes, and extensions), default to Latin Modern Roman. I actually prefer Computer Modern Unicode (which is an automatic conversion of Computer Modern to Unicode with extensions), because despite some possible improvements in Latin Modern, the fonts again have problems with combining characters which the Computer Modern Unicode fonts don't.

I can see not liking Computer Modern Roman/Latin Modern Roman for a number of reasons. I have positive associations with it, so I 'like' it when I see it, but I don't always use it.

@elilla

re: about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla "Besides, I have no objection to doomsday cults until they try to bring it about themselves..."

Sorry about the random fiction quote, but this sounded almost too funky to be real!

@alcinnz @elilla Apologies to the author of the fiction, but isn't that was they usually do?

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla at least they are not cunning

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla Whoa. /Huh./

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla ...I'm so tired. I'd like to be surprised, or bewildered, but nope. Just tired.

about a cabal of evil linguists, no seriously, missionarism 

@elilla
That is pretty spooky but also something that motivates enough people to pour in the resources neccesary to accomplish that koind of thing. Let's pray they don't get to far in their efforts *duck*

Sign in to participate in the conversation
transmom.love

Personal server for trans moms <3