Re: U+00BA and U+00AA

From: António Martins-Tuválkin (
Date: Mon Feb 05 2007 - 09:56:48 CST

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    On 2007.01.25, 21:33, Jukka K. Korpela <> quoted and

    >> Indeed "ª" and "º" are nothing but superscripts, made available in
    >> typing machines

    (here I meant "typewriters")

    >> and computers for their relative abundance but no way unlike any other
    >> subscript. Very frequent "Excelentíssimo" is abbreviated when possible
    >> as "Ex.<sup>m</sup>º" (or "Ex.<sup>mo</sup>"), but in plain text the
    >> illogical "Ex.mº" is mandatory.
    > Is that official Portuguese orthography?

    AFAIK "official" portuguese orthography (the 1945 PT-BR agreement) does
    not cover abbreviations or other such typographic conventions. (OTOH, what
    do I know? I'm still reading page 737th of 1050 in ISBN 972-31-1004-0… ;-)

    > The code chart in the Unicode standard has just the note "Spanish"
    > attached to the feminine and masculine ordinal indicators. Of course the
    > notes are not meant to describe the use of a character comprehensively,
    > but I'm a bit surprised at the omission of Portuguese.

    Actually, I'm usually very suprised at any non-omission of Portuguese. You
    know, when they say that in South America "Spanish" is spoken everywhere
    (Brazil takes up 49% of it), or when there's a passing mention about that
    quaint western province of Spain whose capital is Fátima… ;-)

    > notes would guide people who wish to use characters in the most correct
    > way.

    The most correct way is to use proper superscripts. These two characters
    were added as a hack to typewriters 150 yrs ago and have been lingering as
    "legacy" ever since. (Actually I never used them even in typewriters: it's
    much better to turn the knob one notch up, type whatever supercripts
    one wants including "a" and "o" and who-cares-about-body-size,-this-is-
    typewriting-anyway and turn it back down again afterwards to resume
    regular text. MHO, anyway.)

    > in several fonts, there is an underline below the letter "a" or "o".

    Yes, for that is (or used to be) the usual way to render the end bits of
    abbreviated words:


    Some fonts also show the dot below, which, unlike the (purely
    presentational) underscore, is plain wrong -- fot the dot/period only
    shows once in each abbreviation: either before/under the 1st raised letter
    or (exceptionally) centered under the whole raised string. The position of
    this dot is also a presentational and its "logic-order" place is before the
    1st raised letter.

    > Although these characters are compatibility equivalent to <super> a and
    > <super> o, their rendering may be idiosyncratic, reflecting their
    > specific purpose.

    IMHO this idiosyncrasy can be safely assumed to lie outside the limits of
    plain text.

    -- ____.
    António MARTINS-Tuválkin | ()|
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