Characters consisting of vertical lines; Possible attempts to encode tally marks

From: Karl Pentzlin (
Date: Tue Feb 27 2007 - 18:32:43 CST

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: Characters consisting of vertical lines; Possible attempts to encode tally marks"

    1.) There are at least three series of characters consisting of one or
        more vertical line sequences in Unicode (besides script specific
        characters like Latin click letters or dandas):
        a.) U+007C VERTICAL LINE (1 line)
            U+2016 DOUBLE VERTICAL LINE (2 lines)
        b.) U+2223 DIVIDES (1 line)
            U+2225 PARALLEL TO (2 lines)
            U+2AF4 TRIPLE VERTICAL BAR DELIMITER (3 lines)
        c.) U+1D369...1D36D COUNTING ROD TENS DIGIT ONE ... FIVE (1 ... 5

        Of these, the characters of series c. are clearly intended to have
        the same height, line thickness and distance between the lines.

    2.) Is this also intended at least for series b. ?

    3.) If tally marks are to be encoded (as it was discussed on the list
        some days before), which of the following attempts ist the most
        appropriate (if any)?
        ("tally mark one" to "tally mark four" have the appearance of
         a group of one to four vertical lines, while tally mark five
         consists of a group of four vertical lines with a horizontal or
         diagonal stroke, the exact direction of which is a matter of glyph
         variation. See e.g. )
        a.) Propose a TALLY MARK FIVE (or WESTERN TALLY MARK FIVE) in the
             Counting Rod Numerals block and recommend U+1D369...1D36C to be
             used for tally marks one to four (despite the fact that they
             denote tens when used as counting rod numerals proper).
             This is possible as the Counting Rod Numerals have no East Asian
            Pro: Only one new character.
            Con: Character does not exactly match the block name.
             This could be circumvented by opening a new block "Tally
             marks" or "Counting marks" at 1D380-1D3..., especially if
             somebody wishes to propose things like the Eastern and South
             American tally marks shown on the Wikipedia page mentioned above.
        b.) Propose TALLY MARK FOUR and TALLY MARK FIVE for the
             Miscellaneous Symbols and Arrows block (2B00-2BFF), and
             recommend the use of series b. above for tally marks one to
            Pro: At least no new characters made of one to three vertical
            Con: Depends on assumptions of the appearance of existing
        c.) Propose a series of five tally marks in the Number Forms block
            Pro: Dedicated characters, all correctly named. All properties
             can be chosen as desired.
            Con: Five new characters in the BMP for a very specialized use.
             Another series of characters consisting of vertical lines.
        d.) Propose a series of five tally marks in the Counting Rod
             Numerals block (1D369-1D37F).
            Pro: Like attempt c., also:
             A group of functionally and visually similar characters is
             grouped in the same block.
            Con: Like attempt a. and c. (only that the BMP is not
        e.) Propose two characters TALLY MARK ONE and TALLY MARK FIVE in
             the Number Forms block, requiring that tally marks two to
             four are to be written as sequences of TALLY MARK ONE
            Pro: Only two new characters, correctly named and with
             properties as desired. Tally mark glyphs still can be designed
             independent of the design requirements of the other
             vertical line characters.
            Con: Another character consisting simply of a vertical line.
             Not consistent with the use of encoding characters consisting
             of two or more consecutive equal looking glyph parts
             otherwise if they constitute a new semantic unit (e.g.
             U+2057, U+21C8, U+222D).
        f.) Like e., but propose only TALLY MARK FIVE and require U+2223 or
             sequences of it for tally marks one to four.
             (U+007C seems less suited, for its properties as well as for
             its long an thin appearance in most fonts.)
            Pro: Only one new character.
            Con: No dedicated character(s) for tally marks one to four.

    Any opinions? Personally, I prefer attempt a.
    - Karl Pentzlin

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