Re: Unicode Cyrillic GHE DE PE TE in Serbian

From: Jeff Leer (
Date: Mon Jan 03 2000 - 04:30:22 EST

It helps to understand the evolution of handwriting. In Cyrillic print, this
letter is a small T with serifs extending down from the tips of the top
line. In the Russian hand printing of the 1700s or so, the three downward
vertical lines had become equal in length and were stroked in sequence,
followed by a line across the top, linking them. In handwriting, the three
vertical lines were ligated, thus resembling Roman m, and the top stroke was
raised above the bottom group so as to avoid stroke-clash. This is the form
Valeriy recalls seeing. Finally, the top stroke was eliminated. An expert
would be able to tell you much more about the exact sequence of these
changes and the range of variation.

Jeff Leer

----- Original Message -----
From: Valeriy E. Ushakov <>
To: Unicode List <>
Cc: Unicode List <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2000 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: Unicode Cyrillic GHE DE PE TE in Serbian

> On Tue, Jan 04, 2000 at 03:47:36PM -0800, Erland Sommarskog wrote:
> > If I understand this correctly, I will see a small T in a regular font,
> > and "m" if I switch to italics?
> Exactly. Should be easily verifiable by looking at almost any Russian
> newspaper. Children are taught to write "m" in handwriting and in
> primary school you'll get you mark down if you write small
> 'blockprint' "T".
> As a side note: you can still see older people writing underbar under
> SHA and SCHA (and, rarely, under I) and overbar over TE (and, rarely,
> over PE), and I believe chidren were taught to do this several decades
> ago (I recall I saw this in my mother's old schoolbooks).
> The practice really makes sense if you consider runs of handwriting
> like:
> |/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/| - that should be 10 |/ elememts
> In fast handwriting curves of SHA, TE, I, PE &c and, as well,
> connections between letters become indistinguishable and writing bars
> helps to identify the above as "" (tishi):
> ___
> |/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|/|
> - --- -
> It also helps a lot for the writer himself to avoid "banana" problem.
> When I write this word in this "m"-style, I can't help but break in
> the middle and go back counting stems to understand which letter I'm
> writing.
> > Still, they're visually so completely different that, you hardly can
> > call them glyph variants.
> They _are_ glyph variants. E.g. I always write 'blockprint' small "T"
> in my handwriting (I also underline my SHAs) and my wife always writes
> "m".
> Another example is, perhaps, small DE which in italic font is almost
> always looks similar to U+2202 PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL (that's how I
> write it). OTOH, children in school are taught to write it like latin
> small "g" (that' how my wife writes it).
> SY, Uwe
> --
> | Zu Grunde kommen
> | Ist zu Grunde gehen

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