Friday, March 9, 2007

Typing Etruscan

Etruscan is an ancient extinct language that preceded Latin in Italy and whose writing system is one of earliest examples of the English alphabet. This script is in Unicode under the name "Old Italic." MPH 2B Damase and Code2001 are free fonts that cover it, and a keyboard layout can be downloaded from my iDisk or here.

Etruscan was often written right-to-left, and the fonts mentioned above reflect this direction in the way the letters are oriented. To input this correctly you should use the application Mellel, set for RTL. An alternative is to use another Unicode-savvy app like TextEdit, but precede your text with the Unicode character 202E to force the correct direction. The keyboard on my iDisk has 202E on the ` key and 202C (used to end an RTL segment) on the = key. These should also be used in web pages, but not all browsers may display the correct direction.

Here is an Etruscan Test Page.

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