Re: Latvian and Marshallese Ad Hoc Report (cedilla and comma below)

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 16:09:14 +0200

2013/7/5 Michael Everson <>

> On 5 Jul 2013, at 08:04, Denis Jacquerye <> wrote:
> >> The problem is in pretending that a cedilla and a comma below are
> equivalent because in some script fonts in France or Turkey routinely write
> some sort of undifferentiated tick for ç. :-)
> >
> > Sure they are not equivalent, but stop pretending it is only in some
> script fonts, the page has plenty of
> examples where it is not in script fonts. In some languages the cedilla can
> have a shape similar to that of a comma, it's a fact.
> Yes, well, if there are non-script fonts which have this feature, it
> nevertheless derived from handwriting. Would any French primer for young
> children routinely use a full-formed C WITH COMMA BELOW C̦ c̦ regularly
> throughout? No. Would readers of Le Monde notice if all the fonts one day
> shifted to C̦ c̦? Of course they would -- and I'd wager €100 they would
> protest, and loudly.
> > Any native speaker will tell you the comma-like form and others are
> acceptable.
> Not by any means in all contexts. In genuine taste-tests, Ç ç would be
> universally selected as the "more correct" form by French users. C̦ c̦
> would not be.

Actually users will only protest if the shape is not attached or displayed
too much below.

But the exact shape does not matter much: an attached vertical tick, or
comma touching the bottom of letters (9-shaped, or )-shaped diagonal
rectangular stroke, or diagonal triangular), or the 5-shaped standard
cedilla will be accepted. it will also be accepted if it's a small mirrored
c, or right half circle, not connected to the base of the letter with some
vertical or diagonal thin stroke.

As long as this is coherent with the general font style and it is clearly
visible and not confused with a dot below. Handwritten French texts
frequently do not use the standard 5-shaped glyph, but some attached
diagonal stroke connected to the center bottom of the c letter.

With the exception of untranslated foreign toponyms and of people names or
possible trademarks, only the letters c and C have a cedilla in French, and
most users cannot type the cedilla below the capital letter C with their
standard keyboard layout, e.g. on Windows, MacOS, or Linux, without
complication or without using personal customized layouts.

Word processors or spell correctors for web browsers are proposing the
correction on the frequent word "Ça", the most common case where the
cedilla is missing below C.

There also the expression "Ç’a" which is the contraction of "Ça" followed
by the auxiliary conjugated verb "a", used in the compound past ("passé
composé") time of conjugated verbs, but this rare form is avoided by most
users who use the imperfect ("imparfait") or simple past ("passé simple")
time, i.e. non-compound times, or will use the synonym "Cela" before the
compound past. (Some more advanced French users will avoid it because of
the phonologic alliteration of "Cela a...", where "Ç’a ..." is still
preferable to respect the correct time matching of sentences and correct
phonology including the contraction; some users are also not using the
contraction, and say or write "Ça a..."). Many users avoid the difficulty
caused by "Ça" on their keyboard by writing its synonym "Cela".

Other cases for capital C with cedillas only include those where text
written in "all-caps" styles (not to be abused, but generally limited to
some paragraphs for strong notices, like denials of responsabilities in
contracts and licences, or for strengthening a single word like "GARÇON(S)"
vs. "FILLE(S)" within long sentences, but not in isolated cases like data
column headers which should still write "Garçon(s)" or "garçon(s)"). Words
containing a cedilla are frequent only because of the word "ça", but the
presence of a cedilla outside the word "ça" is still low in French, most of
them are in conjugated verbs whose infinite ending in "-cer" like "nous

In other words, the real difficulty of the cedilla in French is to have it
properly displayed below non-initial lowercase letters c, most of these
cases are in conjugated verbs and a few common nouns like "garçon(s)",
"glaçon(s)", or less frequent words "limaçon(s)" and "colimaçon(s)", plus
some wellknown toponyms like "Curaçao" (the island in Dutch Antillas, or
the name of an alcohol wellknown for its blue color)... In all these cases,
the shape of the cedilla does not really matter, as long as some some mark
is present below "c" for correct reading. The initial forms Ca and C’,
instead of the correct forms Ça and Ç’ is frequent, but does not cause a
reading problem when it occurs at the beginning of a sentence.

In fact, this is perceived as a typographic problem more than an
orthographic problem (just like the shape of the apostrophe, which is
preferably the 9-shaped high comma ’ but also absent from keyboards, that
offer only the vertical tick of an encoded ASCII apostrophe-quote).
Received on Fri Jul 05 2013 - 09:11:33 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Fri Jul 05 2013 - 09:11:33 CDT