Re: U+2121

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Jul 26 2000 - 13:16:25 EDT

Patrick Andries asked:

> Shoudl the telephone sign U+2121 be superscript, and therefore annotated
> <exp> 0054 T 0045 E 004C L.


U+2121 was given a compatibility decomposition involving <super> for
Unicode versions 1.1.5, 2.0.0, and 2.1.2. This was based primarily on the
source representation for the character in XCCS (1990 version) which showed
the character superscripted.

However, during the deliberations regarding data file specifications that
led to the 2.1.5 update, the UTC specifically considered U+2121 and
decided that unlike the service mark (U+2120) and the trademark (U+2122),
which are always shown superscripted, the TELEPHONE SIGN was not treated
that way, and the <super> was changed to <compat>. (The actual change
occurred between the unreleased versions 2.1.3 and 2.1.4, but showed up
publicly in the 2.1.5 update version.)

> The two only Unicode fonts I have show this character as a superscript glyph
> (Andalé and Arial Unicode MS).

The reason for this is that many existing fonts were modeled in part on
how characters were displayed in Unicode 2.0, and the <super> designation
in that document influenced font design decisions.

The official UTC position on this is that for U+2121, superscript appearance
is not distinctive, and an lowline or midline glyph representation would
be just as appropriate.

There is a reason the editorial committee highlighted the disclaimer now
printed on page 331 at the very beginning of the Code Charts chapter of
Unicode 3.0.


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