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Ethiopic Script

Ethiopic refers to Ge'ez or Classic Ge'ez, one of the ancient languages of Ethiopia which is now mainly used in Ethiopian Orthodox Church as liturgical language. Its script has evolved through the centuries ingrained into the culture, traditional education, and other social systems of Ethiopia. The script, known as Ethiopic or Ethiopian script, is the official writing system of Ethiopia.

Ethiopic Script is syllabic, that is each character embodies "consonant+vowel" characteristics. It implements a syllabary system structured on phonetically ordered blocks. There are more than 316 syllabic characters in the alphabet, 8 punctuation marks, and 20 digits.

Ethiopic writing system is left-to-right and top-to-bottom. Words are separated with blank space/Ethiopic hulet-netib, sentences with Ethiopic arat-netib, and paragraphs with recognized horizontal space. Pages are numbered from left-to-right.

There have been a serious of standardization efforts by various groups, committees, and associations. The Unicode Ethiopic standard is by far a promising one.

"Ethiopia Jiret"

Ethiopia Jiret is a Unicode True Type font. It consists of Ethiopic and Latin-1 blocks. The Ethiopic block confirms to the Unicode 3.0 standard.

The font requires refinement and better hinting and my plan is to work on it while making it available. Time permits, I will include the font in Metafont and bdf format in the near future. Please read the following section for downloading and installation instructions.

Downloading and Installing Ethiopia Jiret (Windows)

  1. The font file name is jiret.exe, compressed in self-extracting format. Download and save it into a temporary folder.
    Download Ethiopia Jiret (self-extracting)
    Or, you may also download the font in ZIP format, but the instruction on installation is based on the self-extracting format.
    Download Ethiopia Jiret (zip compressed)
  2. Start Windows Explorer and open the folder where the font file is saved.
  3. Double click the font file jiret.exe. It will self-extract itself. Now, you may close Windows Explorer.
  4. Click on the Start button, then select Setting.
  5. Click on the Control Panel, then double click on Font icon.
  6. Select the File menu, then click Install New Fonts....
  7. From Add Fonts dialog box, specify the folder where the Ethiopia Jiret font is saved. If it is found by the system, the font name will be displayed on the top portion of the panel.
  8. Select the name and click on the Ok button.
  9. Now, close the Add Fonts dialog box, the Fonts and Control Panel window.

Using Unicode Ethiopic font with Browsers

Note: The reader may benefit a great deal by visiting Alan Wood's Unicode Resources page for a specific type of browser.

Supposedly, Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer are capable of discerning a Unicode page if a web page identifies itself with the language encoding. Configuring or making sure that the browser is configured properly will be helpful.

Internet Explorer

  1. Turn Auto-Select On
    If the Atuo-Select is turned on, Internet Explorer will try to determine the language encoding used by the web page. Follow the instruction below to do so.
    • Select the View menu from Internet Explorer.
    • Click on Encoding.
    • If net checked, click on Auto-Select.
  2. Manually Setting Language Encoding
    For some reason, if a web page isn't displayed with the proper encoding, a single language encoding can be specified.
    • Select the View menu from Internet Explorer.
    • Choose Encoding and More.
    • Select the one from the given list of encoding.
  3. Multiple Unicode Fonts
    What if, you have more than one Unicode Ethiopic fonts? It is likely that the browser may pick the font you may not wish to use. You can force Internet Explorer to select your choice of font.
    • Select the Tools menu.
    • Choose Internet Options.
    • Click on the General tab.
    • Click the Fonts... button.
    • From the Font dialog box, in the script box, select Ethiopic. In the Web page font and Plain text font box, select the font that you need. Finally, press Ok.

Netscape Navigator

  1. Specifying Unicode Font
    • Select Edit menu.
    • Click on Preferences....
    • From the Category box, click Font. On the right hand side panel:
      Set the Font Encoding to Unicode
      Set the Variable width font to Ethiopia Jiret
    • You may also specify size here.
    • Click Ok.
  2. Manually Setting Language Encoding
    • Select the View menu from Netscape Navigator.
    • Choose Character Set.
    • Select the one from the given list of encoding.

Testing "Ethiopia Jiret"

Resources on Ethiopic
Copyright © Senamirmir Project, 2004