Google Noto: a typeface collection with hieroglyphs

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In a quest to try to harmonise the ever-disparate collection of technologies that we use to connect on the internet, Google have developed what may be the most comprehensive collection of typefaces yet. Under the umbrella name of Google Noto, the aim of the collection is to include every unicode symbol ever (for free).

They say:

Flowering reed or reed leaf? A hieroglyphic puzzle

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As part of some research I was doing, I needed to find a picture of the plant represented in the j hieroglyph (see right), otherwise known as the ‘yod’ or ‘yode’ (M27 in Gardiner’s sign list). Unfortunately, I hit a snag. Some of my language books, such as Gardiner himself, describe it as a ‘flowering reed’. Other books, such as Collier and Manley in their How to read Egyptian Hieroglyphs and James P Allen in his Middle Egyptian tome refer to it as a ‘reed leaf’.

So, what was I to look up?

Egyptian transliteration: will it survive the digital era, or will it be replaced by Manuel de Codage?

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This is a question which has popped into my head recently, possibly as a result of the problems I had with transliteration fonts on one of my typesetting projects.

With the ever-increasing presence of digital media such as ebooks and the Internet, and with the inevitable growth of older publications being digitised, the ability to properly render transliteration and other specialist fonts will become more of an issue in Egyptology.