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

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Mar 24 2005 - 10:56:50 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: 'lower case a' and 'script a' in unicode"

    From: "Peter Kirk" <>
    > Well, if perhaps you could start by telling us the names of some languages
    > which make the distinction in lower case, we might then be able to find
    > these materials showing what they do in upper case. But we want to make
    > sure that these are not examples of what Mark just called the "many
    > (perhaps most) uncased characters (in bicameral scripts) that are archaic
    > or special purpose (eg IPA)."

    There are some resources on
    But also in the Unicode and ISO working papers for other letters that have
    been proposed in the encoding of Extended latin letters for African
    languages, such as:
    Unfortunately, those working documents lack the most important thing: the
    justification of the choice of characters that were made part of such
    character repertoire, notably the reference to at least some languages that
    use them.

    If one had just considered the paper above (which forgets that Latin small
    alpha letter discussed in some areas), one would see that there are other
    lowercase letters which are integrated without an uppercase variant. But as
    this document states that these lowercase characters are necessary for
    African languages, not saying for which languages they are needed does not
    help finding locations where printed resources would also contain uppercase

    I'm quite sure that if the lowercase letters are found in books printed in
    occidental countries about these African languages, the local population
    actually using these letters may already use these letters in handwritten
    documents, including in their uppercase form.

    The fact that there's no evidence of books in western countries to exhibit
    them will not help here, but knowing the source of those letters will
    certainly allow finding contacts in the relevant areas, where the letters
    will be used, for people names, place names, artistic creations, local
    papers and magazines.

    There are some documents in French that discuss these issues, for letters
    sometimes referenced by the african Language Resource Council, and not
    always encoded in Unicode/ISO/IEC 10646. One example: (vowels) (consonnants)
    Such pages are good and informative, as it helps finding the languages that
    need them, and what they represent in the orthographic systems (Note that
    the document also indicates some other non-African languages using them,
    notably in South-East Europe, Central Asia and the Middle-East.)

    There are other interesting pages, like those on the Rosetta project,
    Alphabets for Africa (but unfortunately, it only reference the lowercase
    letters, even if those letters are evidently bicameral, as it is proven in
    the sample texts that DO include uppercase letters as well)...

    Don Osborn may certainly help here because he as tons of references for
    African texts...

    For now, I can quote this page on, for languages of Cameroon:
    the Latin small alpha is referenced and usd in writing Fe'efe'e (Grassfield
    Bantu, a variant of Eastern Bamileke, poken in Cameroon), with this
    (this language also uses the "eng" character, and the open-o, but their
    uppercase version are already encoded, unlike the Latin U with horizontal
    stroke, which is not encoded and is used in lots of other African
    Other countries represent the same sound or abstract letter with accents on
    a regulat Latin a letter, such as a grave or macron above, or with a dot or
    vertical line below, or with a apostrophe before... Other languages need
    more thn one variation of the a letter (for example Nuer, alias Thok Nath,
    in Sudan)...

    Finally the following document by Lee Pearce, February 2003, summarizes the
    current inventory (note that some of the letters exposed there have still
    been encoded in Unicode/ISO/IEC 10646)
    (the missing uppercase letters are in all those grey-shaded cells of the
    table; of them, the uppercase Latin capital Esh for example, which looks
    like a greek capital Sigma, is now encoded).

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