# Re: When is glyph decomposition warranted?

From: Christopher John Fynn (cfynn@dircon.co.uk)
Date: Mon Aug 30 1999 - 21:12:36 EDT

> | > + is just a "not -" and therefore crossed out
> | Or is - really + with the vertical bar subtracted ("minused")?

> No, '-' precedes the first use of '+' by a long time. Before there
> were negative numbers (i e, before there were account legers), all
> numbers were positive. '+' was only needed for contrast after '-'
> came into use.

But aren't accounts some of the earliest documents?

> | > \$ = S + |
> | Or is it an S with two vertical bars? If so how would that be
decomposed? As
> | three slots?
>
> "However you like", I guess :-)
>
> | > @ is just an "a" in a circle
> | Is it a zero, an "oh", or a circle?

> It's just a circle.

not an abbreviaed "t"?

> | How are we to define composite glyphs anyway? -
> | historically (G = C + ,(approximation))
> | visually (V = \ + /)
> | or both (W = V + V = \ + / + \ + /)?
>
> Same as '\$'.

According to some sources \$ probably comes from a modified figure 8
denoting a piece of eight - the Spanish coin

> | Seriously, are these the true histories of these glyphs?
> |
> | What about #, %, *, & =? Are they composites historically?

Most of these thins probably derive from scribal abbreviations.

> '#' is derived from L B BAR SYMBOL (\u2114) used to represent
> pounds weight.

> '%'---don't know for sure, but it would be hard to believe that
> the two circles are unrelated to the two '0's in '100', or that the
> '/' is nothing to do with the '/' in a/c (ACCOUNT OF, \u2100)---a
> generic "separator".

> '&' is a ligature of 'E' and 't' (\u0045\u0074) for the Latin word
> for 'and'.

The English name of this sign is supposedly an abbreviation of
"and per se and..." ("and by itself, which is and").

> '*'---don't know, but I'd guess it was just a eye-catching
> geometrical figure put to various uses (if it any historical use
> other than indicating a footnote).

> Also---'/': derived from an elongated 's' for 'shilling'. Not used
> for division until the Computer Age, as far as I know.

'?' --- supposedly derives the first and last letters of the Latin
word Quaesto placed one over another (which was a common way
to write abbreviations) - later simpified in cursive writing.

"! "-- is similarly supposed to derive from the Latin word Io
"joy" written vertically.

In many early manuscripts the punctuation mark for a full
stop was the same as our colon ":" and later a single dot
served as a full stop, colon or comma depending on the level
or height at which it was placed.

- Chris

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