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{{short description|Typeface}}{{About|the script|the folk art|Fraktur (folk art)|other uses|Fracture (disambiguation)}}

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- Gebrochene Schriften.png -
A modern sans-serif and four blackletter typefaces (left to right): Textur(a), Rotunda, and .
Fraktur ({{IPA-de|fʁakˈtuːɐ̯|lang|De-Fraktur.ogg}}) is a calligraphic hand of the Latin alphabet and any of several blackletter typefaces derived from this hand. The blackletter lines are broken up; that is, their forms contain many angles when compared to the smooth curves of the Antiqua (common) typefaces modeled after antique Roman square capitals and Carolingian minuscule. From this, Fraktur is sometimes contrasted with the "Latin alphabet" in northern European texts, which is sometimes called the "German alphabet", simply being a typeface of the Latin alphabet. Similarly, the term "Fraktur" or "Gothic" is sometimes applied to all of the blackletter typefaces (known in German as , "Broken Script").The word derives from Latin ("a break"), built from , passive participle of ("to break"), the same root as the English word "fracture".Unicode has a set of Fraktur letters intended for use as mathematical alphanumeric symbols:
𝕬 𝕭 𝕮 𝕯 𝕰 𝕱 𝕲 𝕳 𝕴 𝕵 𝕶 𝕷 𝕸 𝕹 𝕺 𝕻 𝕼 𝕽 𝕾 𝕿 𝖀 𝖁 𝖂 𝖃 𝖄 𝖅 𝖆 𝖇 𝖈 𝖉 𝖊 𝖋 𝖌 𝖍 𝖎 𝖏 𝖐 𝖑 𝖒 𝖓 𝖔 𝖕 𝖖 𝖗 𝖘 𝖙 𝖚 𝖛 𝖜 𝖝 𝖞 𝖟


Besides the 26 letters of the ISO basic Latin alphabet,ISO basic Latin alphabet is derived from the English alphabet hence its 26 letters. Fraktur includes the ß ( {{IPA-de|ɛsˈtsɛt|}}), vowels with umlauts, and the ſ (long s). Some Fraktur typefaces also include a variant form of the letter r known as the r rotunda, and many a variety of ligatures which are left over from cursive handwriting and have rules for their use. Most older Fraktur typefaces make no distinction between the majuscules "I" and "J" (where the common shape is more suggestive of a "J"), even though the minuscules "i" and "j" are differentiated.One difference between the Fraktur and other blackletter scripts is that in the lower case o, the left part of the bow is broken, but the right part is not. In Danish texts composed in Fraktur, the letter ø was already preferred to the German and Swedish ö in the 16th century.Compare, for example,. 1550. {{da icon}} and . 1633. {{da icon}}


The first Fraktur typeface arose in the early 16th century, when Emperor Maximilian I commissioned the design of the Triumphal Arch woodcut by and had a new typeface created specifically for this purpose, designed by . Fraktur types for printing were established by the publisher at the issuance of a series of Maximilian's works such as his Prayer Book (, 1513) or the illustrated poem (1517).{{citation needed|date=November 2014}}Fraktur quickly overtook the earlier and Textualis typefaces in popularity, and a wide variety of Fraktur fonts were carved and became common in the German-speaking world and areas under German influence (Scandinavia, the Baltic states, Central Europe). In the 18th century, the German Fraktur was further developed by the typographer to create the typeset . While over the succeeding centuries, most Central Europeans switched to Antiqua, German-speakers remained a notable holdout.


File:Michna Ceska maryanska muzyka.jpg||250px|The collection „Česká mariánská muzyka“|right|thumb|x216px|A Czech example of Fraktur: Title page of by (1647) ("" by old orthography)]] File:Gustav Vasa Bible 1541.jpg|thumb|175px|Front page of Gustav Vasa's Bible from 1541, using Fraktur. The title translated to English reads: "The Bible / That is / All the Holy Scriptures / in Swedish. Printed in . 1541". (Note the use of long slong sTypesetting in Fraktur was still very common in the early 20th century in all German-speaking countries and areas, as well as in Norway, Estonia, and Latvia, and was still used to a very small extent in Sweden, Finland and Denmark,In Denmark in 1902 the percentage of printed material using antiqua amounted to 95% according to R. Paulli, "", i: , published by Grafisk Cirkel, Copenhagen, 1940. while other countries typeset in Antiqua in the early 20th century. Some books at that time used related blackletter fonts such as ; however, the predominant typeface was the , which came in slight variations.
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- Scripts in Europe (1901).jpg -
Usage map: A map presenting the contemporary German view of the extent of scripts around 1900. In reality only German-speaking countries, Estonia and Latvia still used Fraktur as the majority script at this time. Denmark had shifted to antiqua during the mid 19th century,R. Paulli, "", i: , published by Grafisk Cirkel, Copenhagen, 1940. and in Norway the majority of printed texts used antiqua around 1900.BOOK, Tore, Rem, Materielle variasjoner. Overgang fra fraktur til antikva i Norge, Mats, Malm, Barbro Ståhle, Sjönell, Petra, Söderlund, Bokens materialitet: Bokhistoria och bibliografi, Svenska Vitterhetssamfundet, Stockholm, 2009, 978-91-7230-149-8,
From the late 18th century to the late 19th century, Fraktur was progressively replaced by Antiqua as a symbol of the classicist age and emerging cosmopolitanism in most of the countries in Europe that had previously used Fraktur. This move was hotly debated in Germany, where it was known as the Antiqua–Fraktur dispute. The shift affected mostly scientific writing in Germany, whereas most belletristic literature and newspapers continued to be printed in broken fonts.The Fraktur typefaces remained in use in Nazi Germany, when they were initially represented as true German script; official Nazi documents and letterheads employed the font, and the cover of Hitler's used a hand-drawn version of it.WEB,weblink 1941: The Nazis ban Jewish fonts,, 2015-11-21, However, more modernized fonts of the type such as were in fact the most popular typefaces in Nazi Germany, especially for running text as opposed to decorative uses such as in titles. These fonts were designed in the early 20th century, mainly the 1930s, as grotesque versions of blackletter typefaces. The Nazis heavily used these fonts themselves, though the shift remained controversial and the press was at times scolded for its frequent use of "Roman characters" under "Jewish influence" and German émigrés were urged to use only "German script".Eric Michaud, The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany, tr. Janet Lloyd, Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2004, {{ISBN|9780804743266}}, pp. 215–16 and Plate 110. On January 3, 1941, the Nazi Party ended this controversy in favour of the modern scripts including Antiqua. Martin Bormann issued a circular to all public offices which declared Fraktur (and its corollary, the -based handwriting) to be (Jewish letters) and prohibited their further use.Facsimile of Bormann's Memorandum (in German)The memorandum itself is typed in Antiqua, but the NSDAP letterhead is printed in Fraktur."For general attention, on behalf of the , I make the following announcement:It is wrong to regard or to describe the so-called Gothic script as a German script. In reality, the so-called Gothic script consists of Jew letters. Just as they later took control of the newspapers, upon the introduction of printing the Jews residing in Germany took control of the printing presses and thus in Germany the Schwabach Jew letters were forcefully introduced.Today the , talking with and Book Publisher , has decided that in the future the Antiqua script is to be described as normal script. All printed materials are to be gradually converted to this normal script. As soon as is feasible in terms of textbooks, only the normal script will be taught in village and state schools.The use of the Jew letters by officials will in future cease; appointment certifications for functionaries, street signs, and so forth will in future be produced only in normal script.On behalf of the , will in future convert those newspapers and periodicals that already have foreign distribution, or whose foreign distribution is desired, to normal script". German historian Albert Kapr has speculated that the régime had realized that Fraktur would inhibit communication in the territories occupied during World War II.BOOK, Albert, Kapr, Fraktur: Form und Geschichte der gebrochenen Schriften, Mainz, H. Schmidt, 1993, 81, 3-87439-260-0,

After 1941

Even with the abolition of Fraktur, some publications include elements of it in headlines. Very occasionally, academic works still used Fraktur in the text itself.{{citation needed|date=October 2013}} Notably, 's work "" (The Letters to Timothy and Titus) was published in 1963 using Fraktur. More often, some ligatures ch, ck from Fraktur were used in antiqua-typed editions. That continued mostly up to the offset type period. Fraktur saw a brief resurgence after the war, but quickly disappeared in a Germany keen on modernising its appearance.Fraktur is today used mostly for decorative typesetting: for example, a number of traditional German newspapers such as the , as well as the Norwegian , still print their name in Fraktur on the masthead (as indeed do some newspapers in other European countries and the U.S.) and it is also popular for pub signs and the like. In this modern decorative use, the traditional rules about the use of long s and short s and of ligatures are often disregarded.Individual Fraktur letters are sometimes used in mathematics, which often denotes associated or parallel concepts by the same letter in different fonts. For example, a Lie group is often denoted by G, while its associated Lie algebra is mathfrak{g}. A ring ideal might be denoted by mathfrak{a} (or mathfrak{p} if a prime ideal) while an element is a in mathfrak{a}. The Fraktur mathfrak c is also sometimes used to denote the cardinality of the continuum, that is, the cardinality of the real line. In model theory, mathfrak{A} is used to denote an arbitrary model, with A as its universe. Fraktur is also used in other ways at the discretion of the author.Fraktur is still used among traditional Anabaptists to print German texts, while Kurrent is used as hand writing for German texts. Groups that use both form of traditional German script are the Amish, Old Order Mennonites, Hutterites and traditional German-speaking Mennonites from Russia who live today mostly in Latin America.

Typeface samples

(File:Fraktur letter A.png)(File:Fraktur letter B.png)(File:Fraktur letter C.png)(File:Fraktur letter D.png)(File:Fraktur letter E.png)(File:Fraktur letter F.png)(File:Fraktur letter G.png)(File:Fraktur letter H.png)(File:Fraktur letter I.png)(File:Fraktur letter J.png)(File:Fraktur letter K.png)(File:Fraktur letter L.png)(File:Fraktur letter M.png)(File:Fraktur letter N.png)(File:Fraktur letter O.png)(File:Fraktur letter P.png)(File:Fraktur letter Q.png)(File:Fraktur letter R.png)(File:Fraktur letter S.png)(File:Fraktur letter T.png)(File:Fraktur letter U.png)(File:Fraktur letter V.png)(File:Fraktur letter W.png)(File:Fraktur letter X.png)(File:Fraktur letter Y.png)(File:Fraktur letter Z.png)(File:Fraktur letter A-umlaut.png)(File:Fraktur letter O-umlaut.png)(File:Fraktur letter U-umlaut.png)(File:Fraktur ligature CH.png)(File:Fraktur ligature TZ.png)In the figures below, the German sentence that appears after the names of the fonts ( in Fig. 1 and in Fig. 2) reads, "". It means "Victor chases twelve boxers across the Sylt dike" and contains all 26 letters of the alphabet plus the umlauted glyphs used in German, making it an example of a pangram.
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center|frame|Fig. 1. (1800)
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- Fraktur humboldtfraktur.png -
center|frame|Fig. 2. (Hiero Rhode, 1938)


Unicode does not encode Fraktur as a separate script. Instead, Fraktur is considered a class of fonts of the Latin alphabet. Thus, the additional ligatures that are required for Fraktur fonts will not be encoded in Unicode,WEB,weblink Ligatures, Digraphs, Presentation Forms vs. Plain Text, Unicode Consortium, 7 July 2015, 27 January 2017, and Unicode proposes to deal with these ligatures using smart-font technologies such as OpenType, AAT or Graphite. There are many Fraktur fonts that do not use smart-font technologies, but use their own legacy encoding instead that is not compliant with Unicode.There are, however, two sets of "Fraktur" symbols in the Unicode blocks of mathematical alphanumeric symbols, letterlike symbols, and Latin E. These are meant to be used only in mathematics and are not suitable for typesetting German-language texts, as letters such as long s, ä, ö, ü, and ß are not encoded.WEB,weblink Ligatures, Digraphs, Presentation Forms vs. Plain Text, Unicode Consortium, 7 July 2015,

See also{| width575px



Further reading

  • Bain, Peter and Paul Shaw. Blackletter: Type and National Identity. Princeton Architectural Press: 1998. {{ISBN|1-56898-125-2}}.
  • : Fraktur oder Antiqua. Der Schriftstreit von 1881 bis 1941, Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main u. a. 1998 (2. üb. A. 1999), {{ISBN|978-3-631-35090-4}}
  • Fiedl, Frederich, Nicholas Ott and Bernard Stein. Typography: An Encyclopedic Survey of Type Design and Techniques Through History. Black Dog & Leventhal: 1998. {{ISBN|1-57912-023-7}}.
  • Macmillan, Neil. An A–Z of Type Designers. Yale University Press: 2006. {{ISBN|0-300-11151-7}}.

External links

{{sisterlinks|d=Q148443|n=no|b=no|v=no|voy=no|q=no|m=no|mw=no|s=no|species=no}} {{Typography terms}}{{List of writing systems}}

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