RE: How to encode abbreviations [Was: Representative glyphs for combining kannada signs]

From: Keutgen, Walter (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2006 - 07:34:59 CST

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    your remark is similar to Antoine Leca's of 2006.03.28 10:12 GMT

    >One of my prefered is the French use of ° to mark
    >the abbreviation of a final o (as in 1º, 2º), and the Spanish use of º to
    >mark degree; both characters are in T.61 and derivates, including 8859-1; of
    >course, it's the presence of the characters in the keyboard layouts which is
    >the root; counter example, or examples of the reverse, are ASCII - and ',
    >whose covers several meanings.

    For purists a superscript 'o' should be used. But people do what they can with the means they have e.g. they use the ° degree sign. But again there is no 'user guide' with my keyboard that tells wether ° is degree or superscript o.

    Does anyone know the 'etymology' of the degree sign?

    About the usage of 1°, 2°, in French I believe they CAN be found for paragraph numbering, the most frequent usage being 1) 2) or a) b). Would you disagree? Here one might distinguish times before the ubiquitous PC and after. In hand writing the ')' is more 'robust' than '.' or '°'.

    Best regards


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    -----Original Message-----
    From: Philippe Verdy []
    Sent: Mittwoch, den 29. März 2006 09:59
    To: Keutgen, Walter;; Antoine Leca
    Cc: Unicode Mailing List
    Subject: Re: How to encode abbreviations [Was: Representative glyphs for combining kannada signs]

    From: "Keutgen, Walter" <>
    > In hand writing one always uses superscripts for ordinal numbers, which is not possible in flat text PC writing and required some fumbling whith the mechanical typewriter. I.e. '1er', '2ème' or '2e' etc require superscripts, likewise the forms derived from the Latin wording '1o, 2o' etc for which one uses the '°'. One also often sees Me (maître = master in law) with a superscripted e. Now as to know whether '°' is a superscripted 'o' or the degree sign, my keyboard does not tell me. I would bed however that the '°' often is smaller than the superscripted e.

    Actually, french is normally never using the superscript o. French keyboards have a degree symbol key, but even so, it is never used to mark french abbreviations (like "1°" which a French would read as one degree, and not like the Latin locution "primo").

    But the *DEGREE SIGN* is commonly used in a few non-numeral Latin locutions like "d°" = "ditto", or for the abbreviation "n°"or "N°" (for "numéro") ; remember that there's no "superscript o" on most common French keyboards, despite old typewriters had a single key for "N°" with a underlined superscript o, and this key was the first one on the left of the first row on typewriter keyboards). The term "numéro" (or plural: "numéros") is also commonly abbreviated as "no." (or "nos.") with a required abbreviation dot (because "no" and "nos" are also actual unabbreviated french words with different meaning).

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