RE: Help with Greek special casing

From: Carl W. Brown (
Date: Thu Mar 01 2001 - 13:21:25 EST


It looks like the Unicode TR 21 special casing rules for the Greek final
sigma are not quite right.

The final sigma in modern Greek should only be used at the end of a word
including the case where separate words are joined with hard hyphens. If it
is followed by a character such as a combining mark or soft hyphen you must
continue scanning to see what follows. If it is followed a letter then it
is not final.

A simpler test might be it see if a letter or a spacing character or hard
hyphen is found first. If it is a letter then it is not a final sigma.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nick Nicholas []
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 8:37 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: RE: Help with Greek special casing

>Maybe in might be clearer to ask if there are any cases where you use the
>final sigma form where it is not the last letter in a word. Modern Greek

What I described in my first paragraph is the only such instance I'm aware
of (the 19th texts I have in mind were editions of Byzantine texts, but I
think the editor was generalising it in his orthography, and was not the
only one to do so). It has never been mainstream practice. You'll see a lot
of stigmas as sigma-tau ligatures up to the nineteenth century, and being
printed as final sigmas; but they're stigmas nonetheless, not sigmas.

Oh, just remembered: the phonetic Greek alphabet used in the Soviet Union
in the '30s for Pontic and Mariupolitan Greek uses the final sigma
universally (and doubles it for "sh".) Again, not mainstream, and any such
texts that have been reprinted in Greek academia have been reprinted in
conventional orthography. (The Mariupolitans are now using Cyrillic; the
ex-Soviet Pontians are mostly migrating to Greece, and I don't know if
they're still writing their dialect.)

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Nick Nicholas []
>Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 10:53 PM
>To: Unicode List
>Subject: Re: Help with Greek special casing

>On the latter, yes in some 19th century typographical traditions, where the
>final sigma is used to differentiate the prefix pros- from pro-; e.g.
>you'll see Lambros in his _Neos Hellenomnemon_ journal write, say,
>PRO*S*ABBATON = pro-sabbaton, but PRO*@*AGW = pros-agw. (Sorry about
>non-Unicode; I'm on a Mac and have left my lookup-list at the office.) This
>tradition has not been maintained, and I don't think it was ever mainstream
>in Western Europe. I think I've also seen it done with other such prefixes,
>like eis-.

    Nick Nicholas, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.
 "All the nations also under his dominion were filled with joy and
 inexpressible gladness at not being even for a moment deprived of the
 benefits of a well ordered government."
    --- Eusebius of Caesaria on the accession of Constantine I.

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