From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Oct 07 2004 - 08:23:38 CST
This page on the French version of wikipedia notes that Polytonic Greek used
in the 3rd century B.C. alternate letters to denote the initial spirits
("pneuma dasú" for the "hard" spirit, and "pneuma psílon" for the "soft"
spirit), rather than the modern 9-shaped combining accents.
(Note: to see all letters in Internet Explorer, you have to configure it to
use the "Arial Unicode MS" font from Office or the free "Code2000" font, and
to indicate to Internet Explorer, in the Accessibility options, to ignore
the fonts styles selected on web pages: the default font selected in the
Wikipedia CSS stylesheet for Internet Explorer forces the "Arial" font which
does not contain glyphs for all these characters; apparently Wikipedia has
problems to find a reliable way to configure their stylesheets to work with
various versions of Windows or IE).
These letters were noted initially by Aristophane with a variant of the
historic "H" letter that noted the /h/ sound (but was later borrowed when it
became unused to note the sound /è/ with eta), by cutting the "H" (eta)
glyph in two half-parts (and sometimes found with L-shaped glyphs without
the lower part of the vertical). These historic phonemes subsist today only
as diacritics for modern polytonic greek, but this is not the case of
historic texts where they may still be pronounced /h/ on initial vowels or
diphtongues or rho.
The same page gives an encoding for the latest non-combining form where
these spirits are represented by upper tacks (before they became
diacritics). My question is: can these historic half-eta letters be unified
with these tacks, or are they distinct letters?
Are there variants encoded for these historic half-eta letters, to mean that
they should not be shown with the upper tack glyphs but with the historic
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