Re: Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2016 11:16:53 +0200

2016-10-06 9:21 GMT+02:00 Marcel Schneider <>:

> > Almost nobody use the preencoded superscript letters for this (notably
> not
> > for "1<sup>er</sup>", or its recommended feminine form "1<sup>re</sup>",
> > still frequently written "1<sup>ère</sup>")
> They donʼt because these are not on the keyboard. Trust me, I wouldnʼt use
> them neither if I hadnʼt them on a (prototype) keyboard layout.

I will certainly not trust you, and you won't challenge me on that. The
keyboard is definitely not the issue here. Only the degree sign on French
keyboards is very frequently used (instead of the superscript o, or any
final o), in: n° (numéro), d° (ditto), r° (recto), v° (verso), f° (folio).
For Latin ordinals: 1° (primo / premièrement), 2° (secundo / deuxièmement),
the superscript o or degree may be dropped sometimes but it is most often a
degree sign in many encoded documents (there's no real difference in
handwritten or printed text with many font styles)...

It's a common fact that these informal abbrevations (using final "ème",
"ère", in superscripts or not) ARE REALLY frequently used (examples are
easy to find), they are hadwritten or composed in wordprocessors or even in
web editors, because it's so simple to transform them with superscripts.
And this happens even if the prefered forms use shorter abbreviations
 "1er", "2e" without needing any accent in this case (the same also occurs
with ordinals using roman digits).

Note that the same abbreviations are ALSO found without superscripts, such
as "1er", "1re" (or "1ère"), "2e" (or "2ème" ; and when it is the last in a
pair : "2nd", "2nde" or "2de" ): this clearly demonstrates that this is
just a prefered typographic style for the final letters of abbreviations,
and not a separate encoding of the same letters). But not for n°, d°, r°,
v°, d° (using a final plain o after the abbreviated first letters would
create confusion, the degree sign is then highly prefered to the absence of
subperscript, even if the superscript o would be better).
Received on Thu Oct 06 2016 - 04:18:02 CDT

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