Greek Unicode Issues

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These pages discuss issues to do with Greek and Unicode that I have come across over the years, both in my capacity as research associate of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae and independently. This is not of course the last word on Greek and Unicode, nor indeed a comprehensive guide. That honour belongs, in the first instance, to:

There are also other places where you should turn to for good information on Unicode, and Unicode Greek in particular:

The information I give here is more of a supplementary nature:

So there is a fair bit of paedagogy and pedantry here. The audience I intend this for is people who will be working with Greek Unicode at a non-trivial level, either as programmers or as text encoders. The classicists among you will I hope pardon me giving some introductions to Ancient Greek here; I also go over aspects of Greek typography, both within and outside Greece, that I have seen over the years and that Unicoders may need to be aware of.

I am not a typographer or a classicist, so of course these web pages are no substitute for doing your own reading on palaeography, typography, linguistics, text encoding, philology, or politics. As this site continues to be developed, I will be adding links to other such material online, and to references, as well as providing visual examples from existing typography. This will take a while, as might be clear.

Table of Contents

  1. Greek vs. Greek Extended
    1. The Polytonic System
    2. The Monotonic System
    3. Oxia vs. Tonos
    4. Titlecase
  2. Gaps In The System
    1. Unicode Characters as Platonic Ideals: The fi ligature; Cyrillic т
    2. Precomposed and Composed Characters: Composing; Decomposing; Uncomp(r)o(mi)sing
    3. Particular 'Gaps': Smooth breathing on capital upsilon; Circumflex on epsilon and omicron; Circumflex on capitals; Non-canonical subscripts; Smooth Breathing on capital rho
  3. "Don't Proliferate; Transliterate!"
    1. Spoilsports
    2. Epichorica
    3. Epigraphers vs. Linguists
    4. Corinthian EI
    5. What to transliterate into
  4. Titlecase and Adscripts
    1. Titlecase but not Titlecase
    2. Adscript vs. Subscript: A Culture Clash
    3. Adscripts and Diphthongs
    4. Unicode and Adscript vs. Subscript
    5. Unicode Special Casing and Adscripts
    6. Stare Decisis
  5. Greek /h/
    1. The 'istory of 'eta
    2. Who Writes heta
    3. Latin heta
    4. Tack heta
    5. Unicode heta
  6. Stories of Individual Characters
    1. Letters
      1. Final Sigma
      2. Lunate Sigma
      3. Symbol Variants: Maths-Only; Glyph Pedigrees; Distribution of glyphs in fonts
      4. Pseudo-Monotonic Capitals
    2. Punctuation
      1. Punctuation Shared With Latin
      2. Quotation Marks; Single Quotes
      3. Question Mark
      4. Greek Semicolon
      5. Papyrological Punctuation
      6. Editorial Signs
    3. Coronis
      1. Crasis
      2. The Preempted Coronis
      3. The Rough Coronis
      4. The Modern Coronis
      5. The Dialectal Coronis
    4. Yot
      1. The Ancient Yot
      2. The Modern Yot
      3. Do We Admit the Kludges?
    5. Numerals
      1. Stigma
      2. Koppa
      3. Sampi
      4. Capital Numerals
      5. Keraia
      6. Left Keraia
    6. Non-Attic Characters
      1. Digamma
      2. Archaic Koppa
      3. San
      4. Sho
    7. Greek Diacritics
      1. Combining Diacritics: Diacritics shared with Latin; Circumflex; Diaeresis + Acute; Breathings; Iota Subscript; Ancient Editorial; Modern Editorial
      2. Spacing Diacritics: Diacritic Abstractions; Stealth Titlecase; Cheshire Vowels; Apostrophe
    8. Ligatures
      1. Kai
      2. Abbreviation Primes
      3. Drachma
      4. Rho With Stroke
  7. The "Astral Planes": Plane 1 and Greek
    1. Semi-Greek
      1. Derived from the Greek script
      2. Used to write Greek
    2. Para-Greek
      1. Musical Notation
      2. Numeric Notation: Acrophonic Numerals, Papyrological Numerals
    3. Anti-Greek
  8. Characters Outside Unicode
    1. Other Non-Attic Characters
      1. Archaic Sampi
      2. Zigzag Iota
      3. Tsan
    2. Other Ligatures
      1. Stigma Ligature
      2. OU Ligature
  9. Script Mixing
    1. Wakhi Kurds
    2. Hijinks in the Basilica
    3. Heta
    4. Modern Greek Dialectology
    5. Casing
  10. Interloping Scripts
    1. IPA: Particularities of IPA Symbols, African Orthography, IPA Remnants
    2. Uralic Phonetic Alphabet
    3. Archaic Cyrillic
    4. Coptic
    5. Mathematics
  11. Ordering
  12. Maybes for Inclusion


Thanks to: Jim Allan, George Baloglou, John Cowan, Mark Davis, Alexandros Diamantidis, Pim Rietbroek, Øistein Andersen.



Nick Nicholas, opoudjis [AT] optusnet . com . au
Created: 2003-05-25; Last revision: 2006-07-29