RE: Unicameral

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Feb 06 1997 - 05:01:44 EST

At 11:14 -0800 1997-02-03, unicode@Unicode.ORG wrote:
>Well, I hate to be pedantic... Uh, I guess that's not exactly true,
>"unicameral" is the technically correct term, established in typography.
>"Bicameral. A bicameral alphabet is two alphabets joined. The modern
>Latin an example. It has an upper and a lower case, as
>closely linked and yet as easy to distinguish as the Senate and the
>House of Representatives. Unicameral alphabets (the Arabic, Hebrew,
>and Devanagari alphabets, for example) have only one case."
> -- Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style, p. 288.

Nice one, Ken. By the way my comment on using "capital" and "small" was
more related to preferring them to "uppercase" and "lowercase"; clearly the
"casedness" or "caselessness" of a language could not use those terms.

But if case is the term, "case" being a "box", the correct term would be
derived from "capsa" 'a box, especially for papyrus rolls' (cf. Spanish
"caja", Italian "cassa", English "case"; and "capsula" 'a little box'). I
fear to derive the adjective, but something like "unicapsate" and
"bicapsate" might suffice (< "capsatus" 'boxed').


Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire (Ireland)
Gutháin:  +353 1 478-2597, +353 1 283-9396
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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