[I18NGR] [DejaVu-fonts] Miniscule lambda (U+03BB)

Simos Xenitellis simos.lists at googlemail.com
Mon Aug 14 17:04:17 EEST 2006

(apologies if you received this more than once; I am switching e-mail
addresses and I think I got caught up here.)


I believe that the mentioned variation of miniscule lambda (λ, U+03BB)
is used in a condensed variation of the font. Indeed, in newspaper
articles on the front page, you expect the font width to be as small as
possible. For example, see 
* http://www.enet.gr/online/online (click on the front page image on the
top-left, the front page pops. Today's issue has a miniscule lambda on
the left column of the front page)

However, another major newspaper does not follow this style of miniscule
lambda, see
http://tovima.dolnet.gr/front_page.php (screenshot quality is low,
however several miniscule lambdas are visible).

You may see also how miniscule lambda looks in a series of traditional
Greek fonts at
In all cases, the miniscule lambda looks like the style adopted in

I am CC:ing a couple of greek mailing lists in case there is further
input to this issue.


Στις 09-08-2006, ημέρα Τετ, και ώρα 15:31 +0200, ο/η Ben Laenen έγραψε:
> Hi,
> my understanding about the shape you suggest is that it is generally 
> used in titles only (most of the times with η and χ (eta and chi) also 
> without descenders). Most of the times I've seen it, the article has 
> the original shape in the main text. Of course, I'm not Greek and may 
> be very wrong on this, but a quick googling for images of magazines and 
> newspapers seems to confirm this.
> Furthermore, the style in Sans is one that tries to be close to the 
> original shapes, see the alpha and nu for example. If the new alpha 
> will be put in there, the other glyphs should match the style as well, 
> so that would mean more or less redoing the entire Greek glyph set -- 
> and now people are using the font in Greek, it's way too late to change 
> the style.
> It may be discussable for Serif though, it still needs a review to fix 
> some other issues as well, and the new lambda seems to fit much better 
> in there.
> Greetings
> Ben
> On Wednesday 09 August 2006 08:19, James Cloos wrote:
> > Some years back (gak! how time flies!) I inquired about the form of
> > the miniscule lambda in the misc-fixed bdf fonts.  The resulting
> > discussion indicated that modern greek uses a different form than
> > that used in math or ancient greek.  Specifically, they said the
> > new form is the norm in newspapers, popular periodicals and
> > mainstream greek-language books.
> >
> > The form in question is easiest seen in the glyph from 9x18.bdf
> > (here rendered in ascii art based on the bdf file itself):
> >
> > ,----(lambda aka uni03bb from 9x18.bdf)
> >
> > |   ****
> > |  *    *
> > |       *
> > |   *** *
> > |  *   **
> > |  *    *
> > |  *    *
> > |  *    *
> > |  *    *
> > |  *    *
> >
> > `----
> >
> > Given that DejaVu is used more from text than for math, I beleive it
> > would be useful to have uni03bb look like that glyph, and perhaps
> > save the current glyph as uni03bb.alt, and make it available as a
> > stylistic alternative.  The old form is still of course prefered for
> > mathematics, and is also useful for setting text from the era when it
> > was most common.
> >
> > DejaVu alread has U+0266 LATIN SMALL LETTER H WITH HOOK.  This lambda
> > glyph can be generated by taking uni0266, flipping it horizontally
> > and extending the hook to end directly about the left stem.
> >
> > I'd appreciate a confirm/deny from anyone here is is Greek, but my
> > understanding is that this would make DejaVu a better font for
> > rendering modern greek text.
> >
> > -JimC

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