Re: Katakana Extended-A?

From: Andrew West (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2007 - 06:43:54 CST

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    On 03/12/2007, Benjamin M Scarborough
    <> wrote:
    > I've come across a number of characters used for kana that are not
    > currently supported by Unicode and may need to be added.

    Very interesting !

    > First are the tone marks. Out of the thirteen tone marks used in the
    > dictionary, ten are clearly visible on this page. The syllables consist
    > of two or three katakana characters with a tone mark centered over the
    > syllable. Unmarked syllables are tone 1.

    It may be that some of the tone marks can use existing combining
    characters, but it looks like at least some of them need encoding.

    > Also visible on this particular page, on the top section, fourth column
    > from the left, is a yet-unencoded KATAKANA LETTER SMALL WO. Compare to
    > the fullsized WO directly to the left.

    Yep, it does look as if this letter is a good candidate for encoding.

    > Lastly, there are two combining marks visible on individual characters:
    > a combining line above and a combining dot below. These could be
    > unified with U+0305 COMBINING OVERLINE and U+0323 COMBINING DOT BELOW
    > respectively.

    We need to be sure of exactly which letters these marks modify. If
    they only modify certain letters it may be simpler to encode the
    modified letter as a single non-decomposable character (letters with
    diacritic marks do not always need to be decomposable -- cf. Yi and

    > At the above site is evidence of KATANAKA LETTER YI, KATAKANA LETTER
    > They apparently were introduced in the Meiji era but never entered
    > common usage. However, I have not been able to find instances of any of
    > these five characters in use.

    The table from "中學教程/日本文典" is good, but a proposal would need a little
    more evidence of their use.

    > If any of these characters are indeed potential additions to Unicode, I
    > propose making a new Katakana Extended-A block at U+AAE0..U+AAFF.

    Best to keep them in the same region as the other kana and bopomofo
    blocks, etc. 2FE0..2FEF is free if sixteen characters are sufficient.

    But to get anywhere, you or someone needs to put a formal proposal
    together, which can entail a lot of hard work (as well as considerable
    time and effort and possibly expense to see it through to the end) --
    and not least a proposal requires a font with all the proposed


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