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

From: Denis Jacquerye <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2013 14:50:41 +0100

I've written comments on the Cedilla and Comma below discussion:


On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 3:09 PM, Philippe Verdy <> wrote:
> 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.
> [notes]
> 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
> enlaçons")
> 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).

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye
African Network for Localisation
Nkótá ya Kongó míbalé ---
DejaVu fonts ---
Received on Mon Jul 22 2013 - 08:57:41 CDT

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