Aug 192012

As promised in the last post, here’s a look at the roman character sets of the new Chinese fonts in Mountain Lion and whether they will work for displaying pinyin. The short answer is that most seem to have the appropriate letters with tone marks, but may display less than ideally.

Samples of pinyin using the new Chinese fonts is OS 10.8 Mountain Lion

Samples of pinyin using the new Chinese fonts is OS 10.8 Mountain Lion

First of all, Weibei clearly lacks the necessary combined letter/tone marks. So it will work for sticking English words (with no accent marks or other diacritics) into your Chinese text and having the style match, but not for pinyin.

Lantinghei and Yuppy seem to have the necessary combined letter/tone marks, but the kerning of the text goes wrong around the letters with tone marks. It may be that these characters are actually substitutions and that’s what’s throwing off the kerning, but if so, they look very like the fonts in question.

Mt Lion Pinyin Kerning Issue

Notice the weird spacing of the pinyin with tone marks vs. the unmarked pinyin

Baoli, Libian, Xingkai, and Yuanti display the combined letters/tone marks with no kerning problem. The only issue they have is that apostrophes (like single quotation marks) are full-width, even within words like nǚ’ér. Lantinghei and Yuppy also have this problem, on top of the kerning problem.

Wawati is the only font of the new eight that doesn’t appear to have any problems with displaying pinyin.

Of course, Apple did not market these fonts as suitable for pinyin, but nevertheless these findings are a bit disappointing.

OS X (Mountain Lion) is available from the Mac App Store. OS X Mountain Lion - Apple

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