[B-Greek] Long/short vowels, macrons, and Unicode

John H. Jenkins jenkins at apple.com
Tue Mar 7 14:07:18 EST 2006

On Mar 7, 2006, at 11:48 AM, Steve Westfall wrote:

> In light of this, I was interested to discover that Unicode's code  
> chart for
> "Greek Extended" does not provide a code-point for any vowels  
> having both a
> macron and an accent (of any kind).  Is this an oversight in  
> Unicode, or is
> the combination unnecessary?

Unicode was specifically designed so that it would not be necessary  
to explicitly encode such accented forms in order to use and display  
them properly.  Indeed, Unicode originally had none of the characters  
in the Greek Extended block but added them at the request of the  
Greek national standards body.  For stability reasons, no further  
precomposed accented Latin, Greek, or Cyrillic will be added to  
Unicode; instead, users should use the appropriate decomposed forms.

Support for such forms is a matter of cooperation between the  
operating system and the font.  For example, Helvetica and Times on  
Mac OS X 10.4 will correctly display alpha + macron + acute (or  
grave), among others.  As characters, these are represented as  
something like <U+03B1 U+0304 U+0301>.

John H. Jenkins
jenkins at apple.com
jhjenkins at mac.com

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