Ancient Greek apostrophe marking elision

Mark Davis ☕️ via Unicode unicode at
Fri Jan 25 11:34:40 CST 2019

U+2019 is normally the character used, except where the ’ is considered a
letter. When it is between letters it doesn't cause a word break, but
because it is also a right single quote, at the end of words there is a
break. Thus in a phrase like «tryin’ to go» there is a word break after the
n, because one can't tell.

So something like "δ’ αρχαια" (picking a phrase at random) would have a
word break after the delta.

Word break:
δ’ αρχαια

However, there is no *line break* between them (which is the more important
operation in normal usage). Probably not worth tailoring the word break.

Line break:
δ’ αρχαια


On Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 1:10 PM James Tauber via Unicode <
unicode at> wrote:

> There seems some debate amongst digital classicists in whether to use
> U+2019 or U+02BC to represent the apostrophe in Ancient Greek when marking
> elision. (e.g. δ’ for δέ preceding a word starting with a vowel).
> It seems to me that U+2019 is the technically correct choice per the
> Unicode Standard but it is not without at least one problem: default word
> breaking rules.
> I'm trying to provide guidelines for digital classicists in this regard.
> Is it correct to say the following:
> 1) U+2019 is the correct character to use for the apostrophe in Ancient
> Greek when marking elision.
> 2) U+02BC is a misuse of a modifier for this purpose
> 3) However, use of U+2019 (unlike U+02BC) means the default Word Boundary
> Rules in UAX#29 will (incorrectly) exclude the apostrophe from the word
> token
> 4) And use of U+02BC (unlike U+2019) means Glyph Cluster Boundary Rules in
> UAX#29 will (incorrectly) include the apostrophe as part of a glyph cluster
> with the previous letter
> 5) The correct solution is to tailor the Word Boundary Rules in the case
> of Ancient Greek to treat U+2019 as not breaking a word (which shouldn't
> have the same ambiguity problems with the single quotation mark as in
> English as it should not be used as a quotation mark in Ancient Greek)
> Many thanks in advance.
> James
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