RE: Coptic casing; N1658 proposal to encode Coptic in ISO/IEC

From: Mansour, Kamal (
Date: Wed Dec 10 1997 - 12:48:04 EST

On Wed 10 Dec 1997 06:35, Michael Everson wrote:

* Ar 01:00 -0800 1997-12-10, scr=EDobh Marc Wilhelm
* >Somewhat belatedly I would like to comment on Michael Everson's mail on
* >Coptic casing.
* >
* > According to my information Coptic is, contrary to what "Les caract=E8res
* >de l'Impremerie Nationale" suggest, a caseless language.
* > It is quite possible that in the course of this consultation the need
* >for uppercase Coptic letters might reappear.
* L'Imprimerie uses them in its printed materials, and some exist for Coptic
* letters already in the standard. Therefore capital letters exist in Coptic,
* even if they were not used in antiquity. The data exists. If we add more
* coptic characters, we should add them with case. No user is required to use
* them.

Coptic does not make any semantic distinctions based on case. As Michael
has pointed out, over the past two millenia some new conventions about
casing have developed. It is typical to see names written with an inital
capital. Some Coptic capitals are merely enlargements of the lower-case
equivalent, while others have developed forms which are quite distinct
from the lower-case model. One can examine type specimens from many
foundries and printing houses over the past two hundred years which produced
or used Coptic characters in both upper and lower case. Most notable among
these are: Caslon (ca. 1750?), Lettergieterij Amsterdam, Lunds, Reichsdruckerei.

Kamal Mansour
Monotype Typography

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