Re: Rare extinct latin letters

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Wed Jun 04 2003 - 12:34:01 EDT

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    Philippe Verdy posted:

    > Without such use, let some freedom to scholars, as their mutual
    > agreements (and the fact that they are the only authorities for that
    > language) is perfectly valid (Unicode prohibitions should only concern
    > the case where it creates interoperability problems, but PUA will cause
    > much more problems than a use of an approximate mapping to Unicode
    > characters whose semantics best match the character to represent).


    Long before Unicode it has been convention for the Old English letter
    _ƿ_ (U+01BF LATIN LETTER WYNN) to be represented by _w_ in most editions
    of Old English texts and in dictionaries of Old English.

    Perhaps this was originally a kludge, but it is so common that printing
    of wynn in extended text would probably be seen today by many as a
    pedantic affection.

    For Middle English texts it is customerary for various squiggles and
    signs used as abbrevations to be expanded into the modern letters which
    they represent but to be printed in italics to indicate they are
    expansions. Those who know the abbreviation symbols can therefore
    recreate in their minds the original text.

    There was discussion on this list earlier about Cakchiquel letters.
    Peter Constable produced on the SIL site a page indicating the way in
    which scholars have represented these letters substituting characters
    more easily available. See

    William Overington suggested at that the
    PUA should be used to encode them in standardized positions.

    David Starner gave a rebuttal at,
    preferring substitution of characters currently available in Unicode.

    It is not unusual in books or articles containing quotes from older
    linguistic practise that a passage will be produced with remarks that
    special characters have been replaced by corresponding characters more
    familiar in modern use.

    Scholars do such things, and will continue to them. Even if the proper
    characters are available in Unicode editors may wish to substitute more
    familiar variations for ease of readibility.

    Jim Allan

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