Re: Accents in Greek and in Greek Extended

From: Nick NICHOLAS (
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 16:30:49 EDT

On Tue, 16 May 2000, John Cowan wrote:

> > What is the difference (if any) between U+03AC and U+1F71?
> There is none. U+1F71 was created on the mistaken belief that the
> tonos accent was a vertical line rather than an acute. This was
> fixed in Unicode 2.0.

In the late '70s and early '80s, the tonos was realised in various ways,
including a wedge (which is what I remember most from my time in Greece),
a dot, and an acute. The Greek government, which officially introduced the
monotonic system in '82, legislated (I believe somewhat later, around '86)
that the tonos shall be an acute. I must admit I'd never seen a vertical
line as a realisation of the tonos.
> > Which character should I use in polytonic Greek text: U+03AC or U+1F71?
> The former. The latter is deprecated.

I can see contexts in which you'd want to keep the tonos and the acute
distinct, though these would arise infrequently in practice;
monotonic and polytonic Greek does get mixed nowadays, but I'm not aware
of instances where they get indexed together (unlike what has been
claimed, at least, of the Kurdish Latin and Cyrillic Q's). Thus, Kriaras'
dictionary of mediaeval vernacular Greek (which pioneered the monotonic in
scholarly use --- and had to hurriedly abandon the wedge once the acute
was legislated) has everything in monotonic; the TLG, on the other hand,
would certainly avoid monotonic editions, at least in the short term.

Having been brought up on the wedge, I'd rather the tonos and acute be
kept apart on aesthetic grounds; but I doubt any Unicode 3-compliant font
out there is differentiating them. (Athena and Code 2000 have the vertical
line, but they are still on Unicode 2.)

Nick Nicholas; Thesaurus Linguae Graecae,                    University of California, Irvine
 "The Orthodox Church lead the Greek nationalist movement in the island
  until 1977. Since then it has been in decline, confining itself mainly
  to the real estate market and homophobia."  (Andrew Apostolou, MGSA-L) 

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