Re: apostrophes

From: David Starner (
Date: Sun May 21 2006 - 12:38:52 CDT

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    On 5/20/06, Steve Summit <> wrote:
    > But certainly, a big part of this issue is that, practically,
    > people don't have a good way of making such distinctions in
    > writing.

    Sure they do. They could write the apostrophe differently from the
    right quote, but they don't. Oh, you mean typing?

    > Funny you should mention that -- just yesterday I was realizing
    > that having distinct code points for "full stop" versus "decimal
    > point", and "comma" versus "thousands separator", would be quite
    > useful, especially when doing on-the-fly conversion of text to
    > properly locale-representative forms.

    But they wouldn't be useful. They would be confused all the time, and
    hardly any data would exist that used them properly. It's not that
    hard to invent a system to distinguish them if you working on a closed
    system where they will be reliabily distinguished; if you have to do
    it at the character set level, you have private use points.

    > > Making distinctions on purely semantic grounds, for a character
    > > that is commonly understood as one character with multiple uses,
    > > would apparently have opened a can of worms.
    > "Would have"? Remember that Unicode has done exactly that in
    > several other places as well! We've split off U+2010 Hyphen,
    > U+2013 En Dash, and U+2212 Minus Sign from the old, ambiguous,
    > ASCII, U+002D Hyphen-Minus.

    All three are distinct in hot lead typography.

    > We've got U+212B Angstrom Sign distinct from U+00C5 Latin Capital
    > Letter A with Ring Above, and several other glyph-identical
    > characters in the 21xx Letterlike Symbols block. We've got
    > U+00B5 Micro Sign distinct from U+03BC Greek Small Letter Mu,
    > although of course that one was forced on us by ISO 8859-1.

    And most of the examples in the 21xx Letterlike Symbols block,
    including 212B, were forced on us by various characters, particularly
    Asian ones.

    > I'm not sure why the can of worms is so much squirmier for
    > apostrophes than for the other characters.

    Because there's no precident for it. The others are generally
    inheritated issues or things actually distinguished in good

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