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Beemer

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A linguistic mystery [May. 22nd, 2006|10:32 pm]
Beemer
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Some time ago, something happened to my browser at work, and now, whenever it encounters greek letters, instead of displaying them normally (that is, as greek letters), it displays them in some weird mystery alphabet. I went trolling through various webpages trying to identify it, but to no avail.

So I'm wondering: does anyone know what lanaguage this is? And for special bonus points, can you tell my why my browser (Firefox, running on linux) has decided that it likes this alphabet better than the normal Greek one, and how I might persuade it to change its mind back?

And if nobody can identify it, well, here, at least I can give you some entertainment: look at this wacky alphabet!

strange alphabet
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: 0nce_and_future
2006-05-22 03:47 pm (UTC)
To my untrained eye it looks like a really odd (simplified) Arabic font....
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-05-22 03:53 pm (UTC)
I suspect it's from somewhere in the vicinity of Asia Minor, but beyond that, I have no idea.
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[User Picture]From: dcseain
2006-05-22 04:00 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's semitic, but it's not Arabic. It's a Coptic-derived font. Such alphabets/syllabaries are used for:
Armenian, Amharic, Tegrinya, Georgian, Kurdish, Coptic, Egyptian, and a few other languages. This is not of the Amharic/Tegrinya variety, with which i am familiar. So i'm voting for Armenian, Georgian, or a related Kartvelian or Caucasian language.
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From: detailbear
2006-05-22 04:08 pm (UTC)
As for fixing it, have you tried Tools - Options - General - Fonts and Colors - Fonts For: Greek to check the settings?
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-05-22 04:26 pm (UTC)
The options menus are structured differently, but I checked and my Greek language font is set to "serif", just like all the others...
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[User Picture]From: ocschwar
2006-05-22 05:35 pm (UTC)
Well, it isn't Semitic (follow the curves, they clearly go left to right) nor is it Armenian or Georgian. WHich means it's simply a special font set for Greek (hence nothing in Unicode 4.0 about it.) It also isn't Linear B, though it might be Etruscan?
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[User Picture]From: ocschwar
2006-05-22 05:49 pm (UTC)
Imagine this Coptic set made cursive. I think that solves it.
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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2006-05-22 06:13 pm (UTC)
Clearly, you need to get a Mac.
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[User Picture]From: madbodger
2006-05-23 02:40 pm (UTC)
I have a Mac, and was paging through the various character tables, but my Mac
doesn't seem to have a Syriac font! Not even Arial Unicode or Cyberbit has these
characters. And I install every language variant the installer offers.
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[User Picture]From: aadroma
2006-05-22 07:10 pm (UTC)
Oh that's easy -- that's Syriac, used these days to write Aramaic as well...
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[User Picture]From: bikerbearmark
2006-05-22 07:31 pm (UTC)
Show off...









and a sexy one, might I add? <grin>
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[User Picture]From: theotherqpc
2006-05-22 11:33 pm (UTC)
obviously.
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[User Picture]From: arcticturtle
2006-05-23 06:57 am (UTC)
And now he's supposed to say something along the lines of, "By God, this script is in Syriac! That can only mean that the cave beneath old Omar's cellar is, in fact, the Lost Tomb! Hurry, we need to get there before the Nazis find it!"
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[User Picture]From: melted_snowball
2006-05-23 09:13 pm (UTC)
Isn't he supposed to say something about Gnosticism instead? [*ducks, and ducks hard*]
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[User Picture]From: flwyd
2006-05-23 12:01 pm (UTC)

Experiment

Is one of these sets not like the other?

α β γ δ ε ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο π ρ σ τ υ φ χ ψ ω

αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρςστυφχψω

The first set are HTML entities, the second set are unicode characters copied from GNOME's Character Map program. Incidentally, the glyphs shown don't look like the Syriac set in my Character Map...
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-05-23 12:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Experiment

Nope. They're both showing up as Syriac or whatever. (Well, the first set has spaces and the second does not.)

Here's some interesting additional data, though. My notification email, when read in MH, displays the second set as latin-1 garbage (capital-I umlaut, upside-down questionmark, plus-minus sign, etc.). When shown with "more" or emacs, they show up as equals-CE equals-B1, etc. The first set, of course, show up as ampersand-xi-semicolon and such.

However, if I rename the email message foo.html and open it up with firefox, I get the second set showing up as equals-CE, etc., and the first set shows up as Syriac letters!

Moreover, if I run Mozilla, it does the same thing as firefox, while konqueror shows them all as greek letters. I think that means it's definitely firefox/mozilla being confused about how to display greek letters, and not something weird with fontpaths on my system or anything like that.
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[User Picture]From: flwyd
2006-05-23 09:48 pm (UTC)

Re: Experiment

In the first case it's rendering HTML into (presumably) unicode; in the second case it's displaying unicode directly. Maybe it's slipped into the wrong charset encoding (Windows 1251 instead of UTF-8 or something?).
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2006-05-24 01:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Experiment

Here's something even wackier:

Some of the letters show up as normal Greek, not Syriac, if they're in italics!

These look normal: α δ ε π σ τ φ

These look weird: β γ ζ η θ ι κ λ μ ν ξ ο ρ υ χ ψ ω
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