Re: n4013 Proposal to encode additional Runic characters in the UCS [was: Three modest proposals]

From: Andrew West (
Date: Sun Apr 03 2011 - 17:19:29 CDT

  • Next message: Peter Constable: "RE: Three modest proposals"

    2011/4/3 FrΓ©dΓ©ric Grosshans <>:
    > The α›ž glyph variant
    > ————————————––––––—
    > As stated by Andrew West on his blog
    > ( ) and visible on your figure 3 (Thror's map), Tolkien uses 2 variants of α›ž (d), one of them looking like a "boxed cross" β˜’. Basically he uses the boxed version on the 2 words ending in 'and' αš«αšΎα›ž, while he uses the normal looking α›ž on the two mords starting with α›ž . I guess you consider it as a glyph variation of the same character.

    Yes. Possibly it is intended to be a word-final variant, but that is
    not certain from the limited examples available.

    > By the way, Andrew West's "BabelStone Moon Rune" font is supposed to make the corresponding glyph change.

    And does indeed automatically make the corresponding glyph change
    under Windows XP, Vista and 7. That is the beauty of OpenType.

    > And indeed, this variation is not used in the letter your reproduce, where one can find the word and written αš«αšΎα›ž 'normally' (e.g. end of line 8), and if I understood Per Linberg's paper correctly ( ), this shape is only used in this text.


    > αš»αš©α›’Μ£α›α› for αš»αš©α›’α›’α›α›
    > ––––––––––––––––
    > On several places on the letter reproduced on figure 5 (e.g. line 5),
    > Tolkien uses a subscripted point to double the consonant, writing
    > αš»αš©α›’Μ£α›α› for αš»αš©α›’α›’α›α› for example. I guess U+0323 COMBINING DOT BELOW has to
    > be used for that case. Since such diacritic use is not mentioned in the
    > section 14.3 of the Unicode standard, I gues it should mentioned in your
    > proposal.

    An interesting orthographic feature, but Michael and I both thought
    that it was self-evident that a combining dot below should be used,
    and that there was no need to mention it as we were not proposing
    anything related to it. The Unicode Standard defines characters, but
    does not define how characters are used, so there would, in my
    opinion, be no need for the Unicode Standard to explicitly mention
    this usage of the combing dot below.

    The proposal is not intended to be a comprehensive study of Tolkien's
    English Runic usage, and omits to mention other interesting but
    irrelevant features of Tolkien's orthography such as the Z-shaped
    Runic letter Eoh (U+16C7) that is used for "eo" in "George Allen and
    Unwin" on the original dust jacket of The Hobbit (which Tolkien no
    doubt based on the similarly shaped runeform used in the Anglo-Saxon
    rune poem).

    > Gandalf's Rune
    > ––––––––––––––
    > Per Lindberg mentions a specific 'Gandalf rune' appearing in some runic
    > manuscripts, identical with a later certh rune. I guess it is too
    > idiosyncratic to be encoded, and is to be unified with the corresponding
    > cirth rune, when it will be encoded.

    From the description given by Lindberg this would appear to be no more
    than a calligraphically fancy form of U+16B8.

    > Historical CryptogrammicRrunes
    > β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”
    > Do you have any reference (beyond the one you give here) about these
    > cryptogrammic runes ? Are such Cryptogrammic runes in other runic
    > inscriptions ?

    Runic inscriptions are very often cryptic and undecipherable to modern
    eyes (e.g. <>),
    but rarely use completely new characters as is the case on the Franks
    Casket. The inscription on the Franks Casket is one of the most
    important and widely studied Old English runic inscriptions, but is
    currently unrepresentable in Unicode because it uses these five
    cryptic runes on one side (in contrast to the other sides which use
    the normal vowel runes).


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