Re: Roman Numerals (was Re: Improper grounds for rejection of proposal N2677)

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 08:52:42 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Roman Numerals (was Re: Improper grounds for rejection of proposal N2677)"

    On Mon, 31 Oct 2005, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    > I think it is clear that the better, more generic representation
    > of superscript and subscript elements is via styles.

    I'm a bit surprised at the unconditionality of the statement, but
    I guess it's to be understood in a proper context and with suitable

    The use of superscript or subscript characters versus formatting or
    styles or markup is a rather complex question, and I think the
    best answer is "it depends". In particular, formatting, styles,
    or markup may get lost in many ways - simple cut and paste may
    turn 2<sup>2</sup> to 22. Similarly, in a phonetic notation,
    k<sup>h</sup> turns to wrong information if the superscripting is
    removed. On the other hand, changing 1<sup>st</sup> to 1st
    should not disturb anyone, except perhaps esthetically.

    > And this
    > is the case, *even* though there are encoded characters for
    > superscript and subscript digits. Those are compatibility
    > characters in the first place, and in the second are
    > *convenience* characters for the one-off usages of occasional
    > superscripts in text.

    The use of subscript and superscript characters is surely limited
    by many factors, including
    - their limited repertoire
    - the even more limited repertoire that is supported by commonly
       available fonts
    - impossibility of using nested subscripts or superscripts
    - impossibility of affecting the vertical position of the subscript
       or superscript, except very coarsely by the choice of the font.
    Yet, within their limitations, they do a fine job. You can use
    them in many contexts where formatting, styles, or markup cannot
    be used, or should not be used.

    Jukka "Yucca" Korpela,

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Nov 01 2005 - 09:17:37 CST