Re: Re: 'lower case a' and 'script a' in unicode

From: Philippe VERDY (
Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 16:02:08 CST

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    > De : "Peter Kirk" <>
    > In the SIL PUA assignments there is a character F208 LATIN CAPITAL
    > LETTER SMALL ALPHA with a reference glyph like an enlarged single loop
    > script a. But Lorna Priest of SIL was asking recently for evidence of
    > use of this letter. Do you have any, which you could send her? Or even
    > any indication of which specific languages might use it? I would presume
    > that any language which uses the small alpha, as a letter distinct from
    > a, must have an upper case equivalent.

    No I have not such evidence, but I still know that there are African languages that make the distinction in lowercase, and it's not stupid to assume that the distinction should be preserved as well in uppercase. The fact that there's for now no agreed letter form for that uppercase letter may imply that for now, users are still satisfied with the absence of distinction in uppercase, because all uppercase text is still quite rare, except in short phrases like booksor chapter titles and headings (but see also titles in printed newspapers/magazine titles, where the context of the title must already be enough explicit to disambiguate the absence of distinction.

    So it's more interesting to locate newspapers or magazines edited in those known languages that use the distinction. This would reveal the convention used in that case, without looking at very large text corpus to locate those examples.

    My opinion is that simplest way to represent the distinct letter would be with using a taller/larger size of the lowarecase letter form for the uppercase letter. May be I'm wrong, and there are other styles. Anyway, whatever style or leter form is used in that case, this is not the job of Unicode to define which style is correct. But it will be the job of Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 to allocate a codepoint for the abstract character (leaving the various letterforms used within font designs).

    There are other intersting letters which seem to be used and have for now no pipelined uppercase version. I have shown some of them in my extended French keyboard for Pan-Sahelian (see the a18n section on to locate it), with red box for missing or reserved letters which are still not mapped on the keyboard (the glyphs displayed in those cases are just suggested but not a proof of existence and so they may be inaccurate: this is true for the keyboard position I reserved for the uppercase latin alpha, for which I display a A with a upper half circle accent, suggesting its rounded form)

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