RE: Missing character: Combining Up Tack Above

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Mar 29 2007 - 17:27:49 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Missing character: Combining Up Tack Above"

    Philippe Verdy said:

    > ABOVE).

    I agree with Philippe that a sequence of existing diacritics (with
    that being one of the more likely alternatives) would be sufficient
    for simply being able to represent the text in question digitally.
    It would give you a unique representation for the text, distinguished
    from the letters that have only the macrons. With fallback representation,
    using most existing fonts, you'd be able to distinguish the text
    just fine, although the vertical line above wouldn't tend to
    display optimally (connected to the macron). And even that could
    be fixed by simply creating a font with appropriate ligatures for the
    diacritic sequences.


    > There's absolutely no evidence that this is a unique diacritic with
    > distinct semantic.

    This I completely disagree with. The phonetic guides for the
    books in question *are* the evidence for a unique diacritic
    with a distinct semantic. The text even spells out exactly
    what that "semantic" is for the system in question. That
    the semantic is not well-founded from either a modern
    phonological point of view or as a symbol for an English-based
    pronunciation guide, has no bearing on the distinctness of
    the written mark as a symbol, as a unit of written text
    representation, and hence as a valid candidate for being
    encoded as a character.

    The fact that a symbol has a graphological history as a diacritic
    modification of another preexisting symbol does not disqualify
    the result from being treated as a character in its own right.

    In this particular instance, I think a case can be made
    for either approach. Encode the diacritic-modified macron
    simply with a sequence of the existing encoded macron and
    another existing mark; or encode a new combining mark for
    the diacritic-modified macron (and do not canonically
    decompose the resulting encoded character).

    > And the second diacritic used on top of the macron is not
    > really clear.

    Agreed. I think the printer simply grabbed "apostrophe" punches
    from a poor quality set of cases for what was already a
    hacked up set of metal type, where the macrons, breves and
    such on letters had been created by a similar process in
    the first place. The overpunched diacritics sometimes look
    like vertical lines, sometimes tapered vertical lines, sometimes
    a bit more like acutes, and sometimes more like comma-shaped


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