Re: Lowercase numerals

From: Thomas Lotze (
Date: Thu Nov 21 2002 - 18:23:33 EST

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    Firstly, thanks to all who answered so far.

    Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    > > Because oldstyle numerals aren't really "lowercase" in the same
    > > sense as small letters (though some typographers think of them that
    > > way; see[1]). They're just glyph variants of the uniform-height
    > > "lining" numerals, so yeah, it's a character-glyph thing.
    > And to complete the answer for Thomas, the Roman numerals are
    > based on Latin letters, which *do* have upper/lowercase distinctions,
    > unlike digits. The compatibility Roman numerals in the Unicode
    > Standard (U+2160..U+217F) are derived from East Asian standards
    > which separately encoded upper- and lowercase forms, so would have
    > been required to be separately encoded just for compatibility
    > anyway.

    So can it be summarized that figures (both arabic and latin) actually
    come in only one flavor (upper or lowercase), the other being a variant
    glyph, and both kinds of roman numerals being encoded for reasons other
    than their semantic meaning?

    What is still unclear to me is how both kinds of numerals are to be used
    in text files: in both cases it is typographically desirable to use
    lowercase (or old-style) numerals in lowercase and mixed-case text, and
    uppercase (or lining) numerals in all-uppercase text.

    - As for arabic numerals, is there any convention which form (upper or
    lowercase) is meant by U+048..U+057, and which requires special
    treatment (variant selector)?

    - Should the two cases of roman numerals be distinguished by directly
    using the UVs of one form or the other, or is it, for the sake of
    consistency, preferrable to use UVs of only one of them (which?) and the
    same UVs with a variant selector for the other, the font mapping those
    variants to the other UV range?

    Cheers, Thomas

    Thomas Lotze
    thomas.lotze at            

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