Re: Historical Cyrillic in Unicode

From: Alexej Kryukov (
Date: Tue Aug 23 2005 - 10:30:51 CDT

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    On Tuesday 23 August 2005 02:20, John Hudson wrote:
    > Out of interest, are the letter-titlos understood to be applied to
    > base letters or to base words? Alexej's message refers to them being
    > written 'above the word they belong to'.

    I think this question may be investigated on the basis of various
    European writings (not necessarily Cyrillic). Michael already correctly
    pointed out that the characters I call letter-titlos ("bukvotitla" in
    Russian and CS) are analogous to European medievalist combining letters.
    As you know, placing a superscript letter above a contracted word was
    a very common practice in medieval handwriting as well as in early
    Greek printing. What is specific for CS is that in CS such contractions
    are used on a regular basis and considered mandatory.

    However I think the positioning rules are approximately the same
    in all European scripts. Indeed, in handwriting superscript elements
    of a contracted word are usually considered as applied to a base word
    (or rather a morpheme). However, *in typography* they are normally
    placed above a certain character, so that standard methods of
    positioning combining marks would be enough for typesetting CS.

    > Are they always single
    > letters, or might a sequence of letter-titlos occur above a word?

    Since letter-titlos are actually a sort of contraction markers,
    and placing several contraction markers above a single word probably
    makes no sense, normally should be no more than one letter-titlo
    in a single word (at least unless this word is a composite one).
    This is the case also of combining titlo U+0483, used either as a
    contraction bar, or as a numeral sign (similar to Greek U+0374,
    but written above the letters used in their numerical meaning).

    Alexej Kryukov <akrioukov at newmail dot ru>
    Moscow State University
    Historical Faculty

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