Aw: Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

From: Jörg Knappen <>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:08:52 +0200
Sub- and Superscripts are considered "higher level markup" and not parts of plain text in UNicode. You can easily get at
them using LaTeX notation or HTML tags for sub- or superscripts.
So the question is: Why are there *some* sub- and superscript character in Unicode?
And the answer is: They were found in older charactersets and Unicode provides so-called "round-trip compatibility" to those
older character sets. The relevant older character sets happen not to cover a sensible full range of sub- and superscripts, therefore
the gaps in Unicode. It is very probable that those gaps will not be filled at any time.
--Jörg Knappen
Gesendet: Freitag, 30. September 2016 um 11:57 Uhr
Von: "Gael Lorieul" <>
An: "Unicode Discussion" <>
Betreff: Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?
Hello all,

I wonder why only a subset of the alphabet is available as subscript
and/or superscript ?

This is well illustrated on the table in the following Wikipedia page:

Is there a reason for this ?

I would love to have these characters available because I often use
Unicode to write equations as comments of a source code. For instance:

class Term_diff_rotDivStressTensor_splitted
* Computes:
* μ ⎛μ⎞ ⎡1 ⎤
* —.Δω + ∇⎜—⎟×Δu + ∇×⎢—.(∇u + ∇uᵀ)·∇μ⎥
* ρ ⎝ρ⎠ ⎣ρ ⎦
[...] (class definition)

or a more problematic example:

* ⌠tᵉⁿᵈ
* q(tᴺ) ← q(t⁰) +⎮ rhs(q,t) dt + (tᵉⁿᵈ - tˢᵗᵃʳᵗ)
* ⌡tˢᵗᵃʳᵗ

Here "end" and "start" would have been better as subscripts, but I could
not do so because letter "d" is not available as a subscript…

As you can see, having only some letters available as subscript (&
superscript) is sometimes a pain…

Gaël Lorieul

PhD student in Computational Fluid Dynamics
at Université catholique de Louvain
Received on Fri Sep 30 2016 - 10:09:11 CDT

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