Polish Diacritics: how to?

[Introduction] [Kropka] [Kreska] [Ogonek] [Stroke]


The manual presented here is a working draft.

Each image is presented in two formats: GIF and PDF (scalable and zoomable). To get the scalable version, click on any image -- the PDF version will open in a separate window.

Typeface samples are presented for informational and educational purposes only. The Polish diacritics for the typefaces presented here have been created by Stefan Szczypka, Andrzej Tomaszewski, Adam Twardoch, as well as by the original typeface designers/publishers.

Characters in many typefaces shown here have been modified under license. Other character modifications were performed without de-compiling/rearranging the original code.

Text and artwork: Copyright © 1999 by Adam Twardoch. All trademarks belong to their respective owners and were used for informational purposes only.

The Polish alphabet contains 32 letters originally used in Polish language plus 3 letters used in foreign words. 9 letters are so-called diacritics: they are used to express sounds not found in most other languages. It should be mentioned that many sounds are expressed by letter pairs e.g. sz, cz, ch.

The current shape of the Polish characters has been mostly established by the Cracow printer Jan Januszowski (yahn yahnushovsky) and his ortography, which he had published together with ortographies of Łukasz Górnicki (wookash guhrnitsky) and Jan Kochanowski (yan kokhanovsky) in 1594 as "Nowy karakter polski". The title was also the name of a new typeface which he had designed for this purpose. Nowy karakter polski is considered to be the first original Polish typeface.

I will here discuss the typographic peculiarities of the diacritics.

There are four basic diactitic elements in the Polish alphabet. Two of them are accents (kreska ~ acute and kropka = dotaccent) and two of them are letter modifiers (ogonek and kreska uko¶na = stroke).

a ˇ b c Ć d e Ę f g h i j k l Ł m n Ń o Ó p q r s ¦ t u v w x y z ¬ Ż

[Introduction] [Kropka] [Kreska] [Ogonek] [Stroke]

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