y-diaeresis (was Re: HTML - i18n / NCR & charsets)

From: Edward Cherlin (cherlin@newbie.net)
Date: Sat Nov 30 1996 - 17:16:17 EST

Peter Flynn <pflynn@curia.ucc.ie> wrote:

> 9F (159) -- &Yuml; -- Ydieresis
>Y diaeresis is a non-existent character, according to the experts on
>TYPO-L, who have just discussed this in depth. It was included in both
>ISOlat1 (lc) and ISOlat2 (uc) as well as the IBM pc character sets in
>the mistaken belief that it actually existed in some language. It was
>in fact transcribed in error, either from an &ijlig; or something
>similar by whoever was representing the character sets to Geneva at
>the time, and no-one was prepared to bite the bullet and say "this
>does not exist", for fear of being proved wrong, and thus attacked for
>failing to cater for whatever language was supposed to require
>it. Various claims have been made for its existence in Dutch, Turkish,
>and other less populous languages, but none of these have been
>demonstrated. It is possible that some orthographer has found a use
>for it in transcribing a spoken language, in which case it must
>obviously be kept, but the consensus of the typographers is that it is
>redundant (and this included a lot of people with very significant
>foreign-language typesetting experience). The logs of the discussion
>can be retrieved in the usual manner from listserv@danann.hea.ie by
>sending an email containing the command GET TYPO-L LOGyymm
>(where yy=96,and mm={08|09|10|11} -- I _think_ the discussion started
>in August, possibly September).

It probably doesn't help much, but anyway I got a similar story: the
y-diaeresis letter (U+00FF) arose from a confusion about the Dutch letter
ij and its uppercase counterpart IJ, as in IJsselmeer. The Unicode standard
cites them as one of the cases that require very special care in defining
the term "character". Both ij and IJ in fact have separate codepoints,
U+0133 Latin Capital Ligature IJ and U+0132 Latin Small Ligature IJ

It is easy to see how the combination ij in handwriting could be mistaken
for y-diaeresis. As an illustration of the confusion that this letter
generates, consider Edsger Dijkstra of the NL (Netherlands) and Lenny
Dykstra of the NL (National League).

Anyway, since Queensr[U+00FF]che picked up the letter, I guess we're stuck
with it. At least we don't have to let in What's-His-Name, aka "The artist
formerly known as Prince". :-)

Edward Cherlin Helping Newbies to become "knowbies" Point Top 5%
Vice President http://www.newbie.net/Mentors/Cherlin of Web sites
NewbieNet, Inc. Everything should be made as simple as possible,
cherlin@newbie.net __but no simpler__. Albert Einstein

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