Greek Characters Duplicated as Latin (was: Sanskrit nasalized L)

From: Richard Wordingham <>
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2011 21:39:31 +0100

On Sat, 6 Aug 2011 17:25:11 -0700
tulasi <> wrote:

> - Why did Unicode Inc copies some letters/symbols from Greek-script
> irresponsibly and renamed as Latin-script?
> - Why din't it (Unicode Inc) use same Greek letters/symbols?

U+00B5 MICRO SIGN is an ISO-8859-1 character, and was therefore
included as U+00B5. It normally precedes a Latin-script letter, and
therefore it actually makes sense to treat it as a Latin-script
character, and possibly give it a different shape in these contexts to
the shape of the Greek letter in Greek text.

The glyphs of U+0251 LATIN SMALL LETTER ALPHA are glyphs of U+0061
LATIN SMALL LETTER A - they have been given separate character status
because IPA uses it as a contrasting character, as with U+0261 LATIN

U+1E9F LATIN SMALL LETTER DELTA looks to me like a glyph variant of
U+0065 LATIN SMALL LETTER D, but I may be wrong - look up the proposal
if you're really interested.

U+0216 OHM SIGN is similar to U+00B5 MICRO SIGN, except that it is used
on its own. Whether it should be merged with U+03A9 GREEK CAPITAL
LETTER OMEGA is debatable, but that is what has been done.

The reason for the encoding of the next four letters as Latin
characters is that they have a special role in the IPA. Three of them
have been used in extensions of the Roman alphabets for various
languages, and thereby acquired capital letters.

U+0263 LATIN SMALL LETTER GAMMA is for IPA usage, and tends to have
different glyphs to the Greek letter. When used to extend the Roman
alphabet, its capital is different to the Greek form, so this fact also
calls for a different lower case letter.

U+025B LATIN SMALL LETTER OPEN E has the same explanation as

U+0278 LATIN SMALL LETTER PHI is for IPA usage, and, unlike Greek,
always has an ascender.

There is also the principal of script separation, whereby different
scripts do not share base characters. This has led to some
duplication, e.g U+0269 LATIN SMALL LETTER IOTA, originally for IPA.
Its capital, U+0196 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER IOTA, is not the same as the
Greek capital iota.

I hope this makes things clearer.

Received on Sun Aug 14 2011 - 15:41:33 CDT

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