Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Thu Oct 6 15:12:24 CDT 2016

On Thu, 6 Oct 2016 21:20:22 +0300, Jukka K. Korpela wrote:

> In a sense, superscript code points make this easier: the rendering can
> simply pick up the corresponding glyph for the font – if it has one (a
> big “if”). But this is not a good argument in favor of adding such
> points en masse. It is, however, a good argument in favor of using
> existing superscript code points, like “²”, with good font support. 

The topic was mainly about completing the Latin alphabet with the missing 
superscript (lowercase) and subscript characters, and eventually small caps. 
As of me and many others, we were not asking for more than that. And IMHO, 
this is not too much asked, after the ������������������ mathematical alphabets.
And no diacriticised letters are required as superscripts to fully support 
the French language in Unicode.

I like very much your recommendation of *simplicity.* On a web page or 
so, you can do a lot with CSS. On the other hand, every language should 
be able to be written in plain text following its specificities. For French,
that means that superscripts as abbreviation indicators are required in plain 
text. This is not a pregnant need for digits, like it isnʼt in English. But it 
is in French for titles, common nouns, and so on.

One other advantage of plain text abbreviations with superscripts is that you 
are able to search-and-replace the indicators with formatted baseline letters 
when the layout is made up. The reverse is way harder, if not impossible 
once the formatting is lost. Its about the stability of the writing system.

The French recommendation is *not* to use long ordinal indicators, only 
one or exceptionally two letters. What can be called “a hack” is using 
the degree sign to ape a superscript small o. This very year 2016, there 
*can* be an end of those workarounds, since finally, our country is about
to be given several *official* decent keyboards (keyboard layouts).


More information about the Unicode mailing list