Re: b-greek index: April 17, 1999

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Apr 19 1999 - 07:07:02 EDT

At 4:42 PM -0500 4/18/99, David A Bielby I wrote:
>I would like to suggest a concerted effort be made to get a Greek Font
>for the B-Greek List that everyone can is real frustrating to
>me...and I'm sure to others to try to transliterate lots of greek. That
>keeps me from diving in....I feel like I almost have to learn a new
>language....I think the devoted greeker's would most likely be willing to
>change their software to have this benefit...I know I would...if it
>wasn't too expensive.
>What can be done?


I take the liberty of forwarding your message to the list because we've
discussed it on-list before and it is a general concern of list-members.

Two thoughts come to mind at once regarding this:

(a) Jonathan has suggested that within a year, perhaps even before the dawn
of the second millennium, we may have a font which will show up correctly
on everybody's screen representing the correct script for the Greek. I'm
wondering whether SPIonic, the free font available at the Scholars Press
(SBL) web site could not even now be used by all Windows and Macintosh
users who have it installed in their systems. The problem that remains,
however, is that I think there are also people--I don't know how many it
might be--who use plain DOS or who use Unix operating systems, and I don't
think this would work for them. We ought to have something usable by
everyone without exception.

(b) There's a sobering thought about this, however: use of such a font as
SPIonic would require learning what amounts to a new keyboard for typing
the Greek with breathing marks and accents (and I've noticed that SPIonic
appears to have no quotation marks). I hate to learn a new font-keying
system, although I know it can be done (I regularly use the GreekKeys fonts
in my work and have acquired considerable facility with typing that Greek
fairly quickly--but I didn't acquire that facility overnight). On the other
hand, although you say it is frustrating to try to transliterate lots of
Greek, I would submit that (1) it would not be less frustrating--until one
has gotten used to it--to learn to type a whole new alphabet together with
its diacritical marks than it is to learn the transliteration scheme. I had
enough trouble with the transliteration scheme myself owing to the fact
that several characters are represented in our transliteration scheme by
keys on the keyboard that are different from those I use to type my
GreekKeys font. I think, therefore, that it would be worth the effort to
acquire the facility to use the transliteration, since it will be just as
frustrating and time-consuming to learn a new font-keying--and my guess is
that once we have such a font available, we'll still see several
list-members continuing to use one of our current transliteration standards
and we may still see some continue to do what I find particularly
annoying--paste in from their own GNT Study software the characters which
look fine on their own screens but appear as gobbledygook on the screens of
others who don't have that font installed in their own systems.

What this means, I think, is that any transition to some new way of citing
Greek text is going to involve no less hardship and learning problems than
our present schemes of transliteration. I shall be very happy to be
corrected if that is not really the case.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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