Fwd: origin of term caron

From: Asmus Freytag (asmusf@ix.netcom.com)
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 17:23:12 EDT

This just in:

>From: "James Naughton" <james.naughton@st-edmund-hall.oxford.ac.uk>
>To: <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>
>Subject: origin of term caron
>Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 21:57:06 +0100
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4522.1200
>Dear Asmus Freytag,
>Although not subscribed to the Unicode List, I have been following the
>recent discussion of L caron etc. with interest as a lecturer in Czech and
>Slovak at Oxford.
>I also have been puzzled by the use of the term caron in English, which I
>think I may first have come across while using Word Perfect for DOS, and I
>have also speculated about its possible origin.
>It occurred to me a few months ago that it *might* just possibly have been
>created by taking the word "caret" (Latin for "is missing"), which we know
>as a sign for inserted text, then taking the term "macron", borrowing its
>suffix -on and replacing the -et of caret by -on to indicate that now this
>sign is a diacritic written over a letter. Of course, a caron/hacek has the
>shape of an *inverted" caret, so this would certainly be a slightly weird
>way to invent this term, but still...
>Does this sound totally improbable to you?
>The most authoritative-sounding page on the web which I could find when I
>was investigating this was an article on diacritics by J. C. Wells,
>University College, London:
>He writes:
>"The term 'caron', however, is wrapped in mystery. Incredibly, it seems to
>appear in no current dictionary of English, not even the OED. Yet it is the
>term used without discussion for this diacritic in as authoritative and
>influential a source as The Unicode Standard (1991, 2000)."
>Do anybody have any better ideas? Otherwise, the word karon means "caraway"
>in Greek, but that doesn't seem to offer any obvious clue...
>Feel free to forward this speculation to the list if it doesn't seem to you
>just too idiotic and crazy.
>James Naughton
>University of Oxford

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