Re: Decimal separator with more than one character?

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 19:48:51 EDT

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    John Cowan posted:

    > The point is that "ae" is a ligature in some languages and a plain letter
    > in others, but "oe" is always a ligature.

    Not so.

    Both _æ_ and _œ_ were ligatures devised in very late Classical Latin for
    the combinations _ae_ and _œ_ when these represented diphthongs rather
    than _a_ followed by _e_ or _o_ followed by _e_.

    Compare _cœles_ as opposed to _coemptor_ (which one might also write

    They were adopted into Old English where _æ_ at least was definitely
    taken as a separate letter. Some Old English scholars also count _œ_ as
    a separate letter (I do not know on what evidence) but it did not last
    long in the language.

    But in Old Norse _œ_ was definitely a separate letter placed at the very
    end of the alphabet.

    It is a separate letter, not a ligature, in the International Phonetic
    alphabet. See

    It appears in the Seneca alphabet where it must be a separate letter
    since that alphabet lacks the letter _o_. See

    I would not be suprised to see it appears in other "aboriginal/native"
    Latin letter orthographies, though can't recall any at the moment. Its
    appearance on the Niamey keyboard might be for use with French words, or
    it might not.

    It is the also normal Latin letter transliteration for the Runic letter

    Accordingly, it would be reasonable that _æ_ and _œ_ be classed as the
    same kind of thing in Unicode, whatever that thing might be. It would be
    reasonable that the same collating rules be applied to both as to
    primary or secondary differences from _a_ and _o_ respectively.

    Jim Allan

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