There are Roman numerals and Arabic numerals (perhaps more accurately Indo-Arabic numerals) and there also are three main branches of typefaces for the Latin alphabet: roman type, blackletter and Gaelic type. Now the latter styles can are sometimes applied to Arabic numerals, creating a distinction between blackletter (Arabic) numerals, Gaelic (Arabic) numerals and … – well, that’s my question.
- Roman-type numerals are too easily confused with roman numerals.
- Roman-type Arabic numerals is probably accurate but somewhat clumsy and would probably still confuse many readers.
- Default numerals or default Arabic numerals requires some context as to what the default is contrasting with. From the reader’s point of view, I might as well refer to uppercase numerals to contrast them with lowercase numerals.
Is there any technical term for these numerals?
The numerals with ascenders and descenders are called “old style numerals” or “old style figures”; the ones that are a consistent height are called “lining numerals” or “lining figures”. “Roman” has been diluted to the point that it’s not easily translatable to a mind picture anymore; it’s applied to grotesques and some gothics as well as to classic book serif faces in computer font drop-down lists. Civilians won’t understand those terms anyway, though, so you will need to have examples handy.