RE: Macrons

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Mon Apr 04 2005 - 10:46:01 CST

  • Next message: Markus Scherer: "Re: Macrons"

    > From: []
    On Behalf
    > Of Catriona Hyslop

    > I have just started looking at using Unicode to represent a language
    > Vanuatu that I am working on...

    > 1. With my current font, the character+macron is a single character
    > I can thus represent it with a single keystroke. To combine the
    > 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?

    Unicode does have precomposed letters for some base-diacritic
    combinations, including some of these:

    U+0112/U+0113 capital/small e-macron
    U+014C/U+014D capital/small o-macron

    For m and n, though, you have no choice but to use a base + combining
    macron sequence.

    In what way is this cumbersome? (Note that you can create a keyboard
    layout that produces the sequence using a single keystroke.)

    > 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
    > significantly, the biggest problem I have is with upper case letters.
    > 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
    > This is horrible and obviously not acceptable for the language's
    > orthography. Is there anything I can do about this?

    To discuss display issues such as this, it is necessary to identify what
    fonts you are using, and what software. Unicode assumes that modern font
    technologies (sometimes called "smart fonts") will be used to handle
    things like diacritic positioning, and we're still a bit on the bleeding
    edge in terms of what fonts and what applications implement this. One
    combination that does work right is the Doulos SIL font with MS Word

    Peter Constable

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