Re: A sign/abbreviation for "magister"

From: Asmus Freytag via Unicode <>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2018 04:36:04 -0700
On 10/28/2018 11:50 PM, Martin J. Dürst via Unicode wrote:
On 2018/10/29 05:42, Michael Everson via Unicode wrote:
This is no different the Irish name McCoy which can be written MᶜCoy where the raising of the c is actually just decorative, though perhaps it was once an abbreviation for Mac. In some styles you can see a line or a dot under the raised c. This is purely decorative.

I would encode this as Mʳ if you wanted to make sure your data contained the abbreviation mark. It would not make sense to encode it as M=ͬ or anything else like that, because the “r” is not modifying a dot or a squiggle or an equals sign. The dot or squiggle or equals sign has no meaning at all. And I would not encode it as Mr͇, firstly because it would never render properly and you might as well encode it as Mr. or M:r, and second because in the IPA at least that character indicates an alveolar realization in disordered speech. (Of course it could be used for anything.)
I think this may depend on actual writing practice. In German at least, 
it is customary to have dots (periods) at the end of abbreviations, and 
using any other symbol, or not using the dot, would be considered an error.

The question of how to encode that dot is fortunately an easy one, but 
even if it were not, German-writing people would find a sentence such as 
"The dot or ... has no meaning at all." extremely weird. The dot is 
there (and in German, has to be there) because it's an abbreviation.

Swedes employ ":" for abbreviations but often (always?) for eliding several word-interior letters. Definitely also a case of a non-optional convention.

The use of superscript is tricky, because it can be optional in some contexts; if I write "3rd" in English, it will definitely be understood no different from "3rd". Likewise with the several marks below superscripts. Whether "numero" has an underline or not appears to be a matter of font design, with some regional preferences (which also affect the style of the N).

I'm very much with James that questions of what is spelling vs. what is style (decoration) can be a matter of opinion - or better perhaps, a matter of convention and associated expectations. And that there may not always be unanimity in the outcome.

In TeX the two transition fluidly. If I was going to transcribe such texts in TeX, I would construct a macro for the construct of the entire abbreviation and would name it. That macro would raise the "r", and then - depending on the desired fidelity of the style of the document, might include secondary elements, such as underlining, or a squiggle.

In the standard rich text model of plaintext "back bone" combined with font selection (and other styling), the named macro would correspond to encoding the semantic of an Mr abbreviation in the "superscript r" convention and the details would be handled in the font design.

That system is perhaps not well suited to exact transcriptions because unlike Tex, it separates the two aspects, and removes the aspect of detailed glyph design from the control of the author, unless the latter is also a font-designer.

Nevertheless, I think the use of devices like combining underlines and superscript letters in plain text are best avoided.


Received on Mon Oct 29 2018 - 06:36:31 CDT

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