Support for Church Slavonic in Unicode

From: Michael Fayez (
Date: Mon Aug 01 2005 - 18:17:38 CDT

  • Next message: Michael \(michka\) Kaplan: "Re: Jumping Cursor. Was: Right-to-Left Punctuation Problem"

    I am no expert in Church Slavonic and even don’t know the language, but I am interested that Unicode completely supports it. I have some thoughts to share with you and I'd like to know what you think.

     Church Slavonic is not supported well enough by Unicode. Most sites I have seen dealing with Church Slavonic either use jpgs or PDF files. Here are links for some sites dealing with Church Slavonic alphabet. (the previous site with altavista translation from Russian)

    For a large amount of text the New Testament in Church Slavonic (PDF files)

    I think the following suggestions will make Unicode supports Church Slavonic completely.

    What to be added:

    1. Wide letter small є: it appears as a first letter of words normal є is used only in the middle or at the end of the word. They are not glyph variants as both appear together in text.
    2. 11 new combining titlos: where the omitted letter is written under the titlo.

    The shapes of these characters are shown in the first link in this mail. They also appear in the text of the New Testament in the last link.

    What to be modified:

    1. There are two UK letters in Church Slavonic. One looks like Latin letter OU U+0223 (like a y written above letter o) Ȣ and the other looks just like оу. The glyph of the letter uk U+0479 in the Unicode standard appears like оу which can be easily written using two letters o and y. The glyph should be changed to the first type of letter UK (Ȣ) because it cannot be obtained through any other way. I know this point is a minor issue but most font creators follow the glyphs in the Unicode standard.

    What to be Disunified:

    1. the letter iotified A looks like (IA) and letter ya (Я)

    I have searched the Unicode mail list archive so that I don’t discuss something that is already fully discussed (like the case with the Phoenician script) as I am new to the Unicode mailing list. The only thread I found that dealt with this issue is

    They stated that letter Я and IA are glyph variants but I don’t think so for the following reasons

    1. The difference in shape between letters is not just style variants. Their shape is really completely different. When websites want to write this letter it is written IA instead of Я see,
    2. Coptic was also considered a style variant of Greek and an open type font will change glyphs according to the language and it was argued that no one will mix Greek with Coptic in plain text; however they were disunified in the latest Unicode version. I think the case we have here is the same (for this letter only not the rest of the Church Slavonic characters).
    3. The Romanians insisted that the letters t and s with comma below is disunified from t and s with cedilla. They considered the glyph of s and t with cedilla incorrect, although the Turks considered the comma and cedilla forms glyph variants and both are correct. These letters were disunified as what should happen in this case as the glyph of Я is not considered correct in Church Slavonic.


    There something else but it is off topic. The old Romanian Cyrillic alphabet uses a letter called (in)  not supported in Unicode (see ), but I don't know anything else about this letter.


      Michael Fayez

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Aug 01 2005 - 18:20:14 CDT