Re: Punctuation symbols for partial cuneiform characters

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Wed Sep 03 2003 - 17:37:05 EDT

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    Kenneth Whistler said:

    > And
    > in this particular case, the usage of floor and ceiling symbols
    > in math does not prevent recognizing that their usage *even in
    > math* as bracketing pairs on symbols is delimiter- and punctuation-like
    > in practice.

    One may note the common use of the greater-than and less-than signs as
    angle brackets in many publications including the Unicode standard. I
    don't think that necessitates coding separate characters.

    > Remember, folks, that Unicode is a *plain text* standard. Unless
    > medievalists have some pretty compelling reason for *distinguishing*
    > in their documents mathematical floor/ceiling notation from
    > their textual conventions of corner bracketing, there really
    > is nothing standing in the way of using the characters as
    > recommended in the standard, except for an aversion to the specific
    > design of the glyphs in the most widely available Unicode generic
    > fonts.

    But the half square brackets to me fall into a different category.

    I am familiar with then from numerous published texts. They are indeed
    widely used to indicate editorial insertion guesses for missing or
    undecipherable material and I have never seen them look like anything
    but the top *halves* of normal square brackets.

    The ceiling characters as shown in the standard and in Kent Karlson's
    paper don't fit in appearance. Of course medievalists and editors of
    ancient middle-eastern texts will "have an aversion to the specific
    design of the glyphs" since the design is wrong for half square brackets.

    If I were editing texts using that convention and wished to stick to
    Unicode I'd probably superscript U+23A1 LEFT SQUARE BRACKET UPPER CORNER
    and U+23A4 RIGHT SQUARE BRACKET UPPER CORNER as the closest
    approximation, kludge though that would be.

    Left ceiling and right ceiling might do in plain text as a reasonable
    reminder of the characters that should be used. Or 231C TOP LEFT CORNER
    and 231B TOP RIGHT CORNER. But it would be like using the digit 3 for
    yogh or ezh or Egyptian glottal stop. It works well enough to get the
    meaning across, but it isn't the right character.

    I'm not at all sure what "general-purpose corner brackets" are.

    Jim Allan

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