From: Catriona Hyslop (
Date: Sun Apr 03 2005 - 22:40:16 CST

  • Next message: Peter Constable: "RE: Macrons"

    I have just started looking at using Unicode to represent a language of
    Vanuatu that I am working on that uses characters in its orthography
    that cannot be represented using most standard non unicode fonts. To
    summarise my situation, the language has 4 special characters, that is
    'e', 'o', 'm' and 'n', each combined with a MACRON. Until now I have
    been using a homemade font that represents these characters as single
    glyphs. Problem is, of course, that it is not compatible with other
    fonts and systems and now that I am wanting to share my data and archive
    on the internet, the time has come to try to conform to a standard. So,
    I have looked into Unicode and found what I think is the character that
    I am looking for, U+0304 COMBINING MACRON. I have a few problems with
    this and I am wondering if these are issues that can be resolved.

    1. With my current font, the character+macron is a single character and
    I can thus represent it with a single keystroke. To combine the letters
    m, n, e, o with a macron using unicode, I must use a combining macron,
    thus 2 glyphs. This is cumbersome. Is this really the only answer or
    have I missed something?

    2. This is slightly more significant. The macron over an 'm' is placed
    to the right, not centrally and doesn't look quite right. BUT much more
    significantly, the biggest problem I have is with upper case letters. A
    macron looks absolutely fine over a vowel. BUT with the upper case
    consonants M and N, when combined with a macron, the macron is placed,
    not over the letter, but cutting through the top on the right hand side.
    This is horrible and obviously not acceptable for the language's
    orthography. Is there anything I can do about this?

    Hoping someone out there has some ideas.


    Dr Catriona Hyslop
    Research Centre for Linguistic Typology
    La Trobe University
    Victoria 3086
    ph. +61 3 94796413
    ph. +61 3 94719253
    Fax +61 3 94673053

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