Encoding <combining abbreviation mark> (was: Re: A sign/abbreviation for "magister")

Philippe Verdy via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Sun Nov 4 10:45:08 CST 2018

Note that I actually propose not just one rendering for the <combining
abbrevaition mark> but two possible variants (that would be equally valid
withou preference). Use it after any base cluster (including with
diacritics if needed, like combining underlines).
- the first one can be to render the previous cluster as superscript (very
easy to do implement synthetically by any text renderer)
- the second one can be to render it as an abbreviation dot (also very easy
Fonts can provide their own mapping (e.g. to offer alternate glyph forms or
kerning for the superscript, they can also reuse the leter forms used for
other existing and encoded superscript letters, or to position the
abbreviation dot with negative kerning, for example after a T), in which
case the renderer does not have to synthetize the rendering for the
sequence combining sequence not mapped in the font.

Allowing this variation from the start will:
- allow renderers to support it fast (so a rapid adoption for encoding
texts in humane languages, instead of the few legacy superscript letters).
- allow font designers to develop and provide reasonnable mappings if
needed (to adjust the position or size of the superscript) in updated fonts
(no requirement for them to add new glyphs if it's just to map the same
glyphs used by existing superscript letters)
- also prohibit the abuse of this mark for every text that one would would
to write in superscript (these cases can still uses the few existing
superscript letters/digits/signs that are already encoded), so this is not
suitable for example for marking mathematical exponents (e.g. "x²", if it's
encoded as <x,2,combining abbreviation mark> could validly be rendered as
"x2."): exponents must use the superscript (either the already encoded
ones, or using external styles like in HTML/CSS, or in LaTeX which uses the
notation "x^2", both as a style, but also some intended semantic of an
exponent and certainly not the intended semantic of an abbreviation)

Le dim. 4 nov. 2018 à 09:34, Marcel Schneider via Unicode <
unicode at unicode.org> a écrit :

> On 03/11/2018 23:50, James Kass via Unicode wrote:
> >
> > When the topic being discussed no longer matches the thread title,
> > somebody should start a new thread with an appropriate thread title.
> >
> Yes, that is what also the OP called for, but my last reply though
> taking me some time to write was sent without checking the new mail,
> so unfortunately it didn’t acknowledge. So let’s start this new thread
> to account for Philippe Verdy’s proposal to encode a new format control.
> But all what I can add so far prior to probably stepping out of this
> discussion is that the industry does not seem to be interested in this
> initiative. Why do I think so? As already discussed on this List, even
> the long-existing FRACTION SLASH U+2044 has not been implemented by
> major vendors, except that HarfBuzz does implement it and makes its
> specified behavior available in environments using HarfBuzz, among
> which some major vendors’ products are actually available with
> HarfBuzz support.
> As a result, the Polish abbreviation of Magister as found on the
> postcard, and all other abbreviations using superscript that have
> been put into parallel in the parent thread, cannot be reliably
> encoded without using preformatted superscript, so far as the goal
> is a plain text backbone being in the benefit of reliable rendering
> support, rather than a semantic-centered coding that may be easier
> to parse by special applications but lacks wider industrial support.
> If nevertheless, <combining abbreviation mark> is encoded and will
> gain traction, or rather reversely: if it gains traction and will be
> encoded (I don’t know which way around to put it, given U+2044 has
> been encoded but one still cannot seem to be able to call it widely
> implemented), I would surely add it on keyboard layouts if I will
> still be maintaining any in that era.
> Best regards,
> Marcel
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