The abbreviated font "Autonym" for self-names of languages ​​on Wikipedia

Original author: Runa Bhattacharjee
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If the Wikipedia article has versions in other languages, then this list is displayed in the side menu (interwiki links). The name of the language in this list is written in that language itself (the term “autonym” is used in English literature).

This means that proper fonts are needed to correctly display the language names. For example, an article on the Nobel Prize is available in 125 languages ​​and requires about 35 different fonts in order to show all their names in the side menu.

Initially, this problem was solved using system fonts available on the reader device. If there was no font, the user instead of the language name saw a set of squares (▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯, ▯▯▯ - ▯▯▯▯▯ ▯ ▯▯▯▯▯ ▯▯▯▯▯▯▯▯). Such squares are often called "tofu." To solve this problem (not only for the list of languages, but also to be shown in the articles themselves), the MediaWiki Universal Language Selector (ULS) extension was created , which provided a set of fonts to display all the languages ​​used on the page.

This helped to ensure that the language was displayed correctly, but in return brought another problem: the sharply increased size of pages that started loading a lot slower than before using ULS. As a half measure, to ensure normal download speed, web fonts are no longer used to display interwiki links.

Removing web fonts from interwiki links was a simple and quick solution, but by and large it was not a solution to the problem. Articles began to display normally, displaying all languages, but due to the crooked display of the name of their native language, some users could not find their language in the list of interwikes. (an example of "tofu" in the picture on the right).

Self-names were needed not only for interwiki, but also for language search tools, a drop-down list of the ULS itself, allowing the user to find their language if the page is shown in an unknown language (more precisely, not even the language, but the font).

As a final solution, the localization engineers came up with the idea of ​​using a special web font, in which there will be only the characters necessary to record the language’s self-name on it. All languages ​​supported by MediaWiki were included in the list of languages ​​added. This font was named "Autonym". It will be used in places where only self-names are shown.

Currently, this font occupies about 50 kilobytes and covers 95% of the languages ​​used (more than 400). The current task is to determine which languages ​​are displayed incorrectly (due to errors or lack of characters). If for a language you know ( in the original it was “your language”, but there were no problems with Russian - approx. Transl. ), If for a language you know you see a problem and know some free font that has the corresponding glyphs, tell us (Wikimedia Foundation) and we will fix the error.

This font solves a very narrow and specific problem. A proposal is currently under discussion to expand the list of glyphs for similar language lists, such as those found on the Commons Wiki. Using the capabilities of Media Wiki, a font can be easily used using a CSS class called autonym.

Autonym font is published for free use under the SIL Open Font License, Version 1.1.

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