Recently I've resumed work on a font I'm currently developing, meant to be released as a completely free, open-source, OFL-licensed font designed specifically for use in academic and formal writing.

Besides being free and open source, it aims to have exceptional symbol coverage among many different languages (in particular supporting Latin-based scripts, Greek, and Cyrillic-based scripts), as well as coming with optical sizes, which can be thought of as extra families of the font designed specifically for certain sizes, like for footnotes or book covers.

Currently the regular style of the font looks like this (please ignore the currently defective spacing at certain parts):

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Regarding the field of linguistics in relation to the design of the font, I plan to add extensive support for phonetic notation (including in particular the IPA), and plan to do so in a very careful and deliberate way, having in mind the good practices for the design of each phonetic character, such as discussed here.

Now, as a mathematician, I recognised there were certain features and requirements a font like the one I'm developing would need to fulfill in order to be usable for other mathematicians, and have thus asked the MathOverflow community about such points.

However, my knowledge of linguistics and phonetics is sadly very limited, and my experience with it is mostly comprised of using (solely) the IPA for language learning. Thus it has dawned on me that I am likely missing the specific background required for implementing some of the more specific features that the working linguist might need in their day to day work in the field.

To this end, I wanted to ask the linguistics community in Stack Exchange about features, suggestions, comments, etc. on what they would like to see included or implemented in a font designed specifically with phonetic notation in mind (which would not be restricted solely to the IPA, but including also e.g. Americanist phonetic notation and the extIPA).

I believe in this way I would be able to gather extremely useful suggestions and feedback on what such a font should include and how it would be best implemented, and in this way would be able to produce a better font that would then be freely usable by the community in turn.

Would such a question be suitable for the linguistics Stack Exchange?

2 Answers 2


The key, as Keelan said, is to ensure it's not opinion-based. But a question like "what are difficulties linguists have run into with common fonts" seems perfectly fine for the site. That can be answered with objective, verifiable experience.

  • Hi Draconis! Thank you so much for letting me know your view on this. I've phrased the question and posted it here, explaining how the font currently plans to support usage in linguistics, and asking what should be done or tackled to best provide this support, focusing specifically on issues that have arisen through work and research experience in the field. Thank you so much again!
    – Emily
    Commented Feb 29 at 16:59

"What they would like to see included or implemented" sounds like a question that would be hard to phrase in a way that is not opinion-based. But if there are specific features you have questions about, I do think concrete, answerable questions about them can be accommodated here.

You may be aware of this already, but Brill has an excellent font for linguistics and non-Latin scripts (https://brill.com/page/BrillFont/brill-typeface).

  • Thank you for letting me know your opinion; I'll refrain from posting on the main site then. Thank you again!
    – Emily
    Commented Feb 25 at 14:06

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