precomposed polytonic Greek characters with macrons and other diacritics

James Tauber jtauber at
Mon Feb 8 12:47:30 CST 2016

On Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 12:30 PM, Doug Ewell <doug at> wrote:

> James Tauber wrote:
> > I'm wondering what potential objections / problems I should be aware
> > of before trying to put together a proposal for these extra
> > precomposed characters to be included.
> It sounds from the blog post that the basic rationale for adding
> precomposed characters is that existing fonts, input methods, and other
> tools don't always work correctly with the combining sequences.
> I suppose one potential challenge you might face is to explain why the
> following FAQ items, though phrased in terms of Latin base letters,
> don't apply equally to Greek:

Yes, I read those FAQs and hesitated before even posting because of them.
The Greek Extended block already somewhat contradicts that by having the
precomposed characters it does but I presume that was largely for legacy
reasons and existing font encodings.

There's no doubt the font and input methods can be improved right now
regardless of any change to Unicode.

That said, I still have questions around relative ordering of combining
characters and also interaction of combining characters and precomposed
characters. At the very least I'd like to put together some best practices
for those dealing with polytonic Greek, even before I go to font foundries
and keyboard software developers.

Even with all this, though, my own work includes accentuation and
syllabification algorithms, all of which are made more cumbersome by the
lack of precomposed characters indicating vowel length. I'm currently
leaning towards adding a layer of "character" processing on top of Python
3's otherwise decent support that effectively treats the relevant character
sequences as single characters even if they aren't (and can't be

I'd be interested if others have tackled similar issues outside of Greek.

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