Re: Greek tonos and oxia

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Wed Jun 30 2004 - 17:48:43 CDT

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    On 30/06/2004 11:11, John Cowan wrote:

    >Peter Kirk scripsit:
    >>If you prefer to use precomposed characters (rather than separate
    >>diacritics as Ken suggested) or need to do so to meet W3C
    >>recommendations, you should use the ones in the Extended Greek section,
    >>which allow for a distinction between acute and grave accents which is
    >>important for Classical Greek.
    >Many of the characters in the Extended Greek block are indeed
    >essential to polytonic Greek. But the X WITH ACUTE characters there
    >are exactly equivalent to the X WITH TONOS characters in the main Greek
    >block, ...

    OK, but this applies to only about 16 out of 250 characters.

    >... and the ones in the main Greek block are in fact preferred.
    >This can be determined by looking at the normalization rules, which will
    >change all X WITH ACUTE characters to the corresponding X WITH TONOS

    Since the characters are in fact exactly equivalent, you can use
    whichever you wish, as long as you are aware that some processes may
    change one to the other. They should be rendered identically. But, in
    favour of using the versions from the Extended Greek sets, there are a
    number of fonts around which render the versions in the main Greek and
    Coptic block (or has it been officially renamed just "Greek"?) with a
    vertical tonos, a form which is inappropriate for modern Greek and
    doubly so for classical Greek, as detailed at:


    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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