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Stressed about tiny little marks

February 1, 2019 | Filed in:

I’ve been struggling this week with a very practical problem in this design, which is the dageshes and kamatzes. Somehow, all of my patachs ended up in places where I could connect them, but I was left with three dageshes (two in BEYSes and one in a TOF) and one kamatz (under the final ALEF) that I could not find an elegant way to connect to anything. I was starting to despair.

Then I started to hope that maybe they weren’t even necessary. The original text is Yiddish but marked up for a Hebrew reader, with all of the Hebrew vowels (nikud?) that actually wouldn’t be there in proper Yiddish. I’d already tried to discard everything I could, but I was left with a few that one non-professional consultant thought should stay. This week I asked a professional Yiddish person about this problem, but got no answer. More despair!

Finally I did some online research and determined that the dageshes weren’t needed in the BEYSes; since they aren’t in words of Semitic origin they are pronounced “bee” even without a dagesh (ref1 & ref2). And I found that according to at least one online dictionary, the correct spelling of tefisah (prison) is with a TES and not a TOF. Even though this isn’t true to the original spelling, I’m taking artistic license and changing it because that TOF and its dagesh were driving me crazy. Now all three of my dageshes are gone!

During my research I also found a patach that had to be removed from freiheit and I learned that most of my FAYs might probably need a line above them (what’s that called?) but there’s a non-YIVO alternative that allows for a FAY without the line, so I’m taking artistic license on that one as well.

Then I turned to final kamatz. I considered bringing up the prison bars to connect to it, but I think the gap between the pile of words and the prison is important. The overall effect of his design is of the words tumbling and straining down to read the prisoner, and we’re in this moment where there’s still a gap that has to be breached. No element of the words can be touching the prison bars; they haven’t accomplished arrival yet, they’re still straining and trying to get there. So I just attached the kamtz to its ALEF. It’s not too artistically offensive. In fact, I kinda like it.