Re: U+0185 in Zhuang and Azeri (was Re: unicode Digest V4 #3)

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Tue Jan 06 2004 - 06:16:43 EST

  • Next message: Andrew C. West: "Re: Bhutanese marks"

    On Mon, 5 Jan 2004 17:37:30 -0800 (PST), Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    > Perhaps someone on the list who knows more about the actual
    > history of orthographic reform in the Zhuang Autonomous Region
    > of Guangxi could chime in with more details.

    Well, I'm not really that knowledgeable about Zhuang, but but my father-in-law
    is a native Zhuang speaker, and I've visited "Zhuangland" many times, so I have
    absorbed some knowledge on the subject by osmosis.

    The original Zhuang alphabet devised in 1955 and officially promulgated in 1957
    used an unwieldy mixture of Latin and Cyrillic letters together with the special
    tone letters encoded at U+01A7/01A8 [tone 2], U+01BC/01BD [tone 5] and
    U+0184/0185 [tone 6]. However, in 1982 the Zhuang alphabet was amended to use
    basic Latin letters only, so that the old tone letters are now written as "z",
    "j", "x", "q" and "h" :

    Tone 1 [Low Rising] : [Tone 1 is implicit, marked by the absence of a tone
    Tone 2 [Low Falling] : U+01A7/U+01A8 = z
    Tone 3 [High Level] : U+0417/U+0437 = j
    Tone 4 [High Falling] : U+0427/U+0447 = x
    Tone 5 [Mid Rising] : U+01BC/U+01BD = q
    Tone 6 [Mid Level] : U+0184/U+0185 = h

    For examples of this new Zhuang orthography on the internet see :

    As far as I'm aware the old Zhuang orthography is no longer in general use.
    However, it is quite possible that books and newspapers printed in the old
    orthography will be archived electronically using Unicode one day, so it cannot
    be said that the tone letters are now redundant, and so can be blithely
    reassigned to other uses.

    I agree 100% with Ken that the Unicode letters Tone Two, Five and Six were
    introduced to represent the Zhuang tones, and so they should not be hijacked for
    other uses for which their glyph shapes are not quite appropriate. If the glyph
    shape for U+0184/U+0185 is wrong for the context that Michael and Peter want to
    use this character in, then I guess that this is probably not the right
    character to use for that purpose, and they should propose a new character.


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