Re: Decimal Point

From: John Cowan (
Date: Sun May 30 1999 - 13:08:18 EDT

Markus Kuhn scripsit:

> Is there a Unicode character to represent a decimal point?

No. That was debated in the past and rejected. There is a fairly
full writeup at .
I quote the relevant section here:

# In 1991 the proposal was made to add a new punctuation character
# in the General Punctuation block that would have the semantic
# property of decimal separator, but could be imaged as either period,
# comma, space or apostrophe depending on the locale.
# Asserted benefit: Solve the locale dependent display of numbers.
# Costs: This new character would have disunified four widely used
# characters. Mapping from existing character sets would have become
# locale dependent. Users would have to turn on a special show-invisible-
# character mode to distinguish the new character from existing
# characters. Such modes exist, but are limited to word processing
# software, where numbers usually occur embedded in text, which in
# turn is 'frozen' into a given language. Database software, where
# locale dependent numeric displays are much more of an issue, does
# not normally need or support a show-invisible-character mode.
# Finally, in 1991 there were no keyboards supporting this new
# character, but it would be needed in all languages and applications,
# and all software would have to be specially adapted for it.
# Alternatives: There already is an established technology to deal with
# locale differences, and in a way that is not limited to decimal numbers.
# Result: Rejected. The costs far outweigh the benefits.

> In some English fonts (e.g., the one used to print the "New Scientist"),
> decimal points are centered and not located on the base line like FULL

That is the British decimal-point convention.
It can be represented in Unicode plain text with U+00B7 MIDDLE DOT.

> So full stop and the decimal point should probably not be unified
> for fine typography (even though they were in ASCII, just like
> HYPHEN-MINUS), but I can't find a decimal point character in Unicode
> 2.1.

On the other hand, full stop and decimal point *are* exactly the same
in American typography, fine or not.

John Cowan
		e'osai ko sarji la lojban.

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