RE: [OT] What is DEL for?

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Thu Feb 22 2001 - 10:28:17 EST

On Thu, 22 Feb 2001, Marco Cimarosti wrote:

> Mike Ayers wrote:
> > > This also casts some light on the fact that some fonts
> > > (notably JIS fonts)
> > > have a big black box glyphs at position 0x7F: [...]
> >
> > Probably not. A big black box (big hollow boxes are
> > also used for
> > this) is a polite way to represent a character which has no glyph.
> I don't think this is the case -- at least not for MS Mincho, the only
> Japanese font that I have at hand -- because the glyph for all other missing
> characters is a small circle; only DEL is a black square.

In Chinese, missing Han characters are denoted with a hollow square or
circle--both of which are about the size of the character. They may be
missing either 1) as a result of the glyph not being available in the font
used, or 2) because the character does not exist in reality, e.g., for
languages/dialects with underdeveloped writing systems.

Isn't the geta mark used in Japanese for #1? (#2 shouldn't exist in

I suspect we are not all talking about the same thing here, though. Are
we talking about #1 or #2? And if #1, is it for Han characters only, or
for all kinds of characters (usu. rectangles or question marks)?

Thomas Chan

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