Re: Latin-1's apostrophe, grave accent, acute accent

From: Markus Kuhn (
Date: Tue Aug 03 1999 - 05:45:54 EDT

Michael Everson wrote on 1999-08-03 08:54 UTC:
> Ar 23:54 -0700 1999-08-02, scríobh Juliusz Chroboczek:
> >There currently is a large number of Unix applications that use
> >`\verb|'|' and `\verb|'|' as single quotes. As Roozbeh noted, this
> >includes TeX, but also makeinfo (hardwired) and m4 (customizable).
> >Furthermore, many users (including me) have their fingers hardwired to
> >using them when quoting.

> Fix TeX. It needs to grow up and use the UCS properly.

TeX itself is not going to get proper Unicode support any more, because
TeX's functionality has been frozen long ago by its creator for
eternity. There is another project called Omega, which is a TeX
derivative extended towards UCS support. This is probably the way to go,
however I haven't tried it myself yet.

But as I argued before, good old TeX does not really have a serious
problem with the modern shape of GRAVE ACCENT in its input plaintext,
because both the traditional and the correct form do not look like
U+2018, so they both are typographically equally ugly, just like all the
other TeX command codes and ligatures. TeX is specifically NOT a WYSIWYG
system, so the glyph shapes of ASCII characters really do not matter to
TeX users. They should however be clearly distinguishable, and it helps
the user a lot if they look like the keyboard labels, especially on
keyboards with an ACUTE ACCENT key, which is exactly what the new X11
glyph shapes accomplish.

(TeX hacker since 1986)

Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK
Email: mkuhn at,  WWW: <>

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