RE: Greek curled beta in Unicode code chart

From: David Perry (
Date: Sun Jul 03 2005 - 07:06:10 CDT

  • Next message: Alexej Kryukov: "Re: Greek curled beta in Unicode code chart"

    Scripsit Alexej:

    > I think, this rule is the only
    > reason, why the curled beta, U+03D0, was introduced into the
    > Unicode in addition to standard beta with descender (AFAIK,
    > this glyph form is completely unknown to mathematicians).
    The various alternate Greek letter shapes (curly beta, curly rho, "script"
    kappa, etc.) were put in Unicode because they were present in pre-Unicode
    character sets. They really don't belong in Unicode because they do not
    follow the encoding model that Unicode is based on (encoding characters not

    More important, these characters should be used with great caution, if at
    all. Consider the fact that if a user searches a document for the word
    "biblion" and types a standard beta at both positions, he won't find the
    word if it is encoded using the "curly" beta in the middle. The same
    problem applies with all the other glyph variants (except those specifically
    designed for mathematical use, which may be used in math). If one is
    preparing a text only for printing on paper, this is not an issue of course;
    but given how often texts are used used in multiple ways these days, I feel
    strongly that it is best to avoid using any of the alternate Greek forms.
    (Consider, for example, that a document in PDF form may be printed, read on
    screen, or searched.)

    The best way to get alternate letter shapes is to use advanced font
    technologies such as AAT or OpenType that allow the display of alternate
    glyphs without modifying the underlying Unicode values.
    I know that support for these technologies is still limited, but it is
    improving and will probably be more widespread with the next release of
    Windows, which will support OT features at the system level. If you want
    more information about these technolgies, particularly with reference to the
    needs of scholars, see the draft document I have posted at

    > So my question is: is it possible to make one small change in
    > the code chart, i. e. redraw the 03D0 glyph in order to make
    > its shape more "classical"?
    The glyph may be changed, but whether it worth bothering with I am not sure,
    given what I have said above.

    David Perry

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