Re: Rare extinct latin letters

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 11:05:35 EDT

  • Next message: Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin: "Re: Dot shapes varying fontwise"

    Sorry, may be I was chosing the wrong diacritic (I was confused by its name, and I should have verified in the charts).
    Isn't U+0316 "COMBINING HORN" (combining class 216) what I wanted to use?

    Disregard my comments with HOOK and consider HORN instead. This is not a great difference as this choice was not a recommandation but more an idea on how to manage such special glyphs in special contexts using existing diacritics, simply because it seems much more simple to implement it with less interoperability problems than PUA codepoints that nobody else than a few experts witll be able to use correctly in a limited context.

    And also because these special glyphs have a strict language-specific usage in which there little or no risk of confusion (so that these old derived scripts can be unified with the standard Latin script, by just designing a font dedicated to that specific language, so that special glyph forms can be used for these special characters unified with existing Unicode abstract characters).

    The evidence of the "long leg" which looks like a horn is evident when you look at the glyph displayed for the Capital letter G with moll, which looks very much as a horn attached on the above right.

    Differences of placement for this long leg for the "moll" sign used in other shown glyphs do not seem critical, and look very similar to glyph variants created by ligatures (that Unicode now will refuse to encode, as it is glyph-related and not related to abstract characters).

    Your message also demonstrates that there's a strong opposition to define new comining diacritics for the Latin script which already has a lot of them and creates difficulties for their correct placement in the combined glyph-cluster layout, notably because Unicode allows any combination of multiple diacritics on base characters, even though such combinations were never used in any past language, and will probably never be used for the case of multiple diacritics

    The combining class model creates a lot of difficulties in non Latin scripts, such as Brahmic scripts and Hebrew, were their definition could not be clearly unified with other combining classes, and not even with Korean which uses its own L+V*T* model, or with the many Han ideographs that could not be unified by composing them from their radicals and combining description, despite this is how Asian people assimilate them. This combining-class model is not easily extensible, and is kept mainly to maintain the required support of Unicode normalized forms.

    So it seems legitimate to reuse existing diacritics allowing them to create new ligated forms that could be documented as specific to a rare language, and implemented most accurately by appropriate fonts, but still usable in absence of such fonts by a limited normative agreements between scholars that study these old documents (possibly out of scope of the Unicode/ISO10646 standardization).

    Even if a future standardization is created for such glyphs, which would gain a more broader usage than the rare old documents in which they were initially used, this would still require a reencoding of existing texts if PUA was used. More generally, linguists need to perform many comparisons between distinct languages, but until such conflict is demonstrated, I can't see why some specific font cannot be designed to show the historic glyphs instead of the default glyphs defined for modern languages and scripts.

    Look for example how the AE Latin letter was unified in Unicode, this is purely a technical simplification in the recent Unicode standard of what was/is really (linguistically) two distinct abstract characters (now a ligature of two letters in most European languages *and* a separate letter in Nordic languages), so the correct usage of this character (or its equivalence with other decompositions) is still language-specific and context dependant, as it obeys to a convention not to a strict definition.

    -- Philippe.
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Kent Karlsson" <>
    To: "'Philippe Verdy'" <>
    Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 4:16 PM
    Subject: RE: Rare extinct latin letters

    > (offline)
    > > How do you consider the existing "hook" diacritic ? Attached
    > > diacritics are already encoded. We can use them as a good
    > The COMBINING HOOK ABOVE diacritic is not attached.
    > But, e.g., the combining cedilla, ogonek, and horn are attached.
    > Check the combining categories and the representative glyphs for
    > characters "WITH" those diacritics. (Personally, I think it would
    > be a bad idea to create new attached combining characters. I think
    > many others would agree.)
    > Please check the basics to avoid going off in a (detached!)
    > tangent.
    > Kind regards
    > /kent k

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Jun 03 2003 - 12:13:34 EDT