Monospace font

To lay out cognate segments in some language comparison data I need a monospace. Inconsolata is not monospace when text includes e.g. a diacritic for glottalization and raised dot for length. The old standby Courier is a workaround, though the glottalization diacritic is rendered as a following apostrophe. Are there any suggestions to solve this problem? (Search does not turn up ‘Monospace’ on any of the SIL font pages that I have examined.) bruce.nevin at gmail.

Do you specifically need a typeface created or distributed by SIL or would you consider other outside ressources like Courier? Does it need to be free as in speech? Does it need to be free as in beer?

What glyphs do you need covered appart from the few you have mentioned?

You could go to and create a complex filter by price (for example 0 = free) and available characters like this example:[*+TO+0]/fonts/

Or course you need to enter your own list of needed characters etc.

We never made a Unicode version of our monospace font (SIL Manuscript) because there was little demand for it. We don’t have any other monospaced SIL fonts. Many linguists use other methods for doing what you’re trying to do (tables, tabs, using alternate colors, special software).

You can find a range of free monospaced fonts at Google Fonts:

You’ll have to look at each individually to see what they support. Be sure to download the fonts rather than look at the web specimens to check that, as the web specimens are not always complete. (Choose a font, ‘SELECT THIS FONT’, use download icon in little frame that appears.)

You could also ask the broader linguist community on lists (such as and social media.

Hope that helps,


Thanks Martin Zaske. Outside resources are fine, and I donʽt mind paying some modest amount, but easy availability to my interlocutors is a desideratum however they feel about the relation of beer to speech.

The things that I need to align vertically when separated by a spaces are ʰ for aspiration, ˑ for length, and ̓ for glottalization. Here are examples:

I include c̓ because inconsolata makes e.g. w̓ a different size from w. I suppose I should list é etc. for the same reason, though accented vowels usually are given in the default character set for any typeface. The middle dot character is 02d1 rather than 00b7 because (as Ken Zook showed me back in 2012) by default 02d1 is considered a wordforming character, but 00b7 is not.

And thanks, Victor Gaultney. I’m still marshaling data, pretty far from publication, so I have time to poke around and see what I can find in the Google set. Embedded table rows are a possibility too, but Iʽd like to minimize the kinds of fussiness that can drive one mad.

The aspiration (cʰ) example occurs mid-word? or only end-word?

I’m reading it as end-word only, which suggests in a monospace presentation the superscript h could occupy 100% of a character width (although the glyph shifted left a bit would be pleasing.) The following space would be larger, but no readability issues would come from that.

if the aspiration occurs mid-word, then that creates a problem fitting the glyphs into a single cell, and might need some intentional ligature representation (even in a proportional font.)

If you can remove the aspiration to fitting into 2 cells, your quest becomes much more likely to be successful.

The change in width for the inconsolata w character may be because it’s not in the font and the operating system is substituting a glyph from a fallback font.

No, the aspirates are syllable-initial only. Historically, they derive from clusters, and synchronically plain stops are voiceless-released syllable-finally and before consonant.

Do you have any images or scans of handwritten text which show their use?

Iʽve got all that in my FLEx database, or almost all, for Achumawi. The attached text is an example. (A translation was published in Fred Luthinʽs collection.) The Atsugewi is similar.

(Attachment Father_finds_deer.pdf is missing)

OK, your system doesn’t allow PDF. Change the extension if this gets through.

(Attachment Father_finds_deer.pdx is missing)

I sent a JPEG image (screenshot of a page). Don’t know if it got through.

Just to be clear - there’s no font that will take the two Unicode characters (c and superscript h) and fit them into one ‘cell’, and I wouldn’t expect any font developer to ever add that capability. There’s a clear distinction in Unicode between non-spacing, combining characters (like acute, dieresis) and spacing modifier letters (like the superscript h), and all the modifier letters would have their own space. The only way to get c and h in the same monospaced cell is to use Unicode 036A (COMBINING SMALL LETTER H), however that will place the h directly over the c, not off to the right.

Makes perfect sense. What I was hoping for was that monospace ʰ and ˑ would be just as wide as monospace C, even as monospace l and . are just as wide as monospace m and C. I donʽt mind having to add the extra space on the parallel line, I do mind their failure to line up when I do so.

If the font includes those characters they will very likely have the same width as the m and C and will line up properly. What you’re seeing is not caused by the font having the wrong width for those characters - it’s because the characters are not in the font at all and your operating system is substituting the glyphs from another font (so the width would be different).

Everson Mono is a Shareware font (that is, you need to pay the fee if you decide you want to use it). It has all the characters you need. HOWEVER, it does not have the smarts for positioning of combining marks. So, if your orthography just uses precomposed characters that are already in Unicode, then you will be okay. But, if you need combining marks on non precomposed characters, you will not want to use it.
It can be downloaded here:

Thanks. Unicode handles glottalized stops with a combining letter. I could substitute dot above, but editors usually object to violating established linguistic convention. Looks like I’ll have to make do with Inconsolata as best I can and palm the problem off on typesetters when the time comes.

Latin Small Letter C with dot above