Re: Can browsers show text? I don't think so

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sat Jul 06 2002 - 13:57:47 EDT

Michael Jansson <mjan at em2 dash solutions dot com> wrote:

> FYI - The problem they have is with the "okina" character, which
> looks like an upside down apostrophe, but does not behave like one
> (doesn't break a word). You won't find it in iso-8859-4. Also,
> although many fonts (e.g. the Windows core fonts) support all the
> Hawaiian vowel characters, they do not include the okina. This is
> unfortunately a quite common and important character, as it may give
> a word different meanings if it is left out.

U+02BB, which is the preferred character for ʻokina, is not present in
any of the ISO 8859 series. And you are right, it is not covered in
many fonts (I see a white square in the preceding sentence).

Much Hawaiian is written using an apostrophe for an okina, and ignoring
the macron (kahakī) completely. This is an unfortunate artifact of the
popular legend that "Hawaiian can be written with the English alphabet."

BTW, as a side note, SC UniPad <> supports a
Hawaiian keyboard with okina and kahakī (both precomposed and combining)
as one of its 65 predefined keyboard layouts. It is one of the few
mainstream (i.e. not Hawaiian-specific) applications I know of that
provides a Hawaiian keyboard.

> You'll find some interesting reading about Hawaiian at:
> which incidentally is a web site powered by web fonts. (The site is
> being developed, so it may be down or contain rough pages).

On my system, that site is chock-full of white squares and overlapping
glyphs. I hope this is due to the "under development" factor, because
if not, it speaks quite poorly for the supposed superiority of the
web-font approach.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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