Another take on the English Apostrophe in Unicode

Marcel Schneider charupdate at
Fri Jun 12 10:02:31 CDT 2015

On Fri, June 5, William_J_G Overington wrote:

> Markus Scherer wrote:

>>> How are normal users supposed to find both U+2019 and U+02BC on their 
>>> keyboards, and how are they supposed to deal with incorrect usage?

> I replied:

>> Would it be possible to have wordprocessing software where one uses 
>> for input and could there be a "show in colour mode" where U+2019 is 
>> displayed in cyan and U+02BC is displayed in red, while 
>> everything else is displayed in black?

> I am wondering whether some existing software packages 
> might be able to be used for the character inputting part using customized 
> keyboard short cuts.


> I realize that the cyan and red colours cannot be done at present, 
> yet I have now thought of the alternative for now of being able to test what is 
> in the text by using a special version of an open source font 
> where there are distinctive glyphs one from the other 
> for the two characters.

If your goal is to check right now what apostrophes are in a given text, an easy way is to do a search for U+02BC and to ask the software to highlight all. Of PagePlus I’ve got only an expired demo version, but I can assure that on Word, a side pane may even show you the pages with all instances highlighted, and allows you to browse them. To start, press Ctrl+F and type a modifier letter apostrophe into the search bar, or select one in your text and then press Ctrl+F.

Getting the apostrophes colored and with a distinctive glyph is possible too. As you are talking about changing the font, I suppose you are in front of raw text. In this case you can do a search-and-replace which gives all U+02BC a red color and another font, say Tahoma when the text is in Arial. Again I speak for Word, where a Plus button shows a Formatting button for the replacing text (replace by the same but with a font formatting on typeface and color), but I suppose PagePlus allows the same proceeding.

About suggesting options, one might think about a blinking markup which would allow to find the problematic apostrophes even faster. As a shortcut for U+02BC I’d prefer CONTROL APOSTROPHE because it may occur more often. However, adding something on your keyboard using Right Alt (that is AltGr) is much more efficient because:
— You add whenever you want and nearly what you want (if no Kana and no chained dead keys, you get the needed characters on your keyboard the time you write to lists and fora).
— You are not bound to a given high-end software (the driver works whenever you type on your keyboard).
— You go on to be an active part of your communities (Unicode, Serif, ...) by sharing the resulting drivers with other people.

Definitely, any shortcut for an apostrophe would slow down the writing speed, therefore Apostrophe is preferred on Base shift state. So you may design a variant keyboard layout with U+02BC instead of U+0027, even if that be the only change, and toggle between the new one and the usual one by means of your OS's facilities. Or you may choose to add a Kana toggle to toggle the apostrophe key directly inside the driver, but achieving this is somewhat longer.

For an example, you may look at the unfinished page where there is already an experimental keyboard layout for download. With U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE.

I hope that helps.

Marcel Schneider
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