You can write Yoruba using Word as long as you have a font that includes
combining diacritics. Lucida Sans Unicode (on Windows NT) and Arial Unicode
MS (included with Office2000) are two with reasonable repertoires of
combining diacritics. I've attached a bitmap showing Word2000 displaying
what I think are some of the Yoruba characters you describe. To create many
of the Yoruba characters, you need to combine two characters from Unicode:
the base character and the diacritic (or accent). For example, to create m
with acute accent:
First type m (Unicode 006D, LATIN SMALL LETTER M)
Now type ? (Unicode 0301, COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT). You may have trouble
generating 0301 from a keyboard, since it is not defined on most keyboards.
You can use Insert/Symbol in Word to insert this character, and if you plan
to type it a lot, you can define a shortcut key to insert it, such as Ctrl+
The Naira exists as a pre-composed character in Unicode at 20A6. A glyph for
this character exists in Arial Unicode MS.
Many of the Yoruba characters exist in pre-composed form in Unicode as part
of Vietnamese or other Extended Latin. (For example, Unicode 1EB8, LATIN
CAPITAL LETTER E WITH DOT BELOW). Many of these glyphs are in Lucida Sans
Unicode, and all of them are in Arial Unicode MS.
From: Magda Danish (Unicode) [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 23, 1999 3:06 PM
To: Unicode List
Subject: Yoruba Language, MS Word and Fonts
I learnt of your existence when visiting Math Type's web site at
I have been teaching in Nigeria for the past 40 years, have now retired but
still visit Nigeria annually, where among other things I typeset exam papers
at various levels in math, science and Yoruba.
Yoruba, a tonal language, basically uses the Latin alphabet, but has three
extra characters: e,o and s with a diacritical dot underneath. These letters
occur in both upper and lower case. In addition: (i) the currency, the
naira, has the sign N overscribed with = and (ii) grave, flat and acute
accents(used as tone markers) though usually occuring over vowels (and
therefore printable using MS Word), sometimes occur over consonants, such as
m or n, which Word seemingly cannot do. Word can cope with the naira sign
using the EQ function, though this is somewhat cumbersome.
Has anyone produced a scaleable font with or without serifs that will print
Thank you in anticipation of your reply.
P.S. I use Windows 95 and MS Office Pro 97
This message has been sent via fax to the Unicode Consortium Home Office and
forwared through the desk of:
Magda Danish - Administrative Director
The Unicode Consortium - 408-777-3720
begin 600 Yoruba.bmp
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