From: Philippe Verdy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Apr 01 2006 - 03:53:02 CST
From: "Antoine Leca" <Antoine10646@leca-marti.org>
>> the degree after the number above does not designate a o
> Huh? 1º in French (normally in an enumerative list, mostly used in
> administrative texts) stands for Latin /primo/ ("first"), 2º for /segundo/
> ("second") etc.
These are *old* adverbial locutions. Also, the correct orthography is "secondo" (like the regular ordinal adjective "second") or "secundo" (deprecated orthography), not "segundo" (the two last have non-French orthographies). Using Latin is really a jargon, i.e. another language but not regular French...
See the "TLFi" online : http://atilf.atilf.fr/tlf.htm (or its CDROM version available at http://www.tlfi.fr ).
Note that the TLFi does NOT indicate any abbreviation for these old adverbs.
They are insufficiently known and incomplete after the first few ones, so the move has been done since long in favor of regular french numeral adverbs ending in "-ment". So 1° would be read "premièrement" by most native french speakers, and "primo" would not be recognized.
If one insists on the term "primo", he will have to use a superscript o, that should be presented with a underline. In French, the "superscript small letter o" (circle, aligned on the superscript baseline so that the top of a superscript uppercase would still align on the M-height, so the superscript baseline is normally between the normal baseline and the x-height) normally requires this underline to differentiate it from either:
* the "superscript zero" used in exponent values (oval, aligned on the superscript baseline and extending up to the M-height, like other superscript digits or superscript capitals) or
* the rarely used "superscript capital letter O" (circle, aligned on the superscript baseline and extending up to the M-height, like other superscript digits or superscript capitals) or
* the "degree symbol" (small circle, aligned to the top of the M-height, and aligned with the apostrophe-prime symbol used to denotes minutes and seconds).
The underline is also needed because it's a hint to attach the letter with the previous letters. Without it, the superscript could be thought as a separate word. The fact that it may represent a preceding consonnant "m" or "n" is speculation. I think that this subjoined underscore is better thought like the hyphen that joins two words in a compound word, and so it denotes the joining of the superscript letter with the previous normal letter.
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