Ancient Greek apostrophe marking elision

Julian Bradfield via Unicode unicode at
Sun Jan 27 15:00:40 CST 2019

On 2019-01-27, Michael Everson via Unicode <unicode at> wrote:
> On 27 Jan 2019, at 05:21, Richard Wordingham <richard.wordingham at> wrote:
>> The closing single inverted comma has a different origin to the apostrophe.
> No, it doesn’t, but you are welcome to try to prove your assertion. 

As far as I can tell from the easily accessible literature, the
apostrophe derives from an in-line manuscript mark that is a point
with a tail, while the quotation marks derive from a marginal mark
shaped like an arrowhead (like modern guillemets). What is your story
about them?

>> Is someone going to tell me there is an advantage in treating "men's” as one word but "dogs'" as two?  As I've said, the argument for encoding English apostrophes as U+2019 is that even with adequate keyboards, users cannot be relied upon to distinguish U+02BC and U+2019 - especially with no feedback. A writing system should choose one and stick with it.  User unreliability forces a compromise.
> Polynesian users need to 02BC to be visually distinguished from 2019. European users don’t need the apostrophe to be visually distinguished from 2019. The edge case of “dogs’” doesn’t convince me. In all my years of typesetting I have never once noticed this, much less considered it a problem that needed fixing.

You have a very low opinion of Polynesian users. People (as opposed to
computers) use context to remove ambiguity. Before we had to interact
with pedantic computers, we were rarely confused by the typewriter-induced
confusion of 1 and l and 0 and O (or, indeed, the use of symmetrical
quotation marks).
Now a sensible orthographic choice for a language using comma-like
letters would be to use guillemets for quotation, and while I don't
know (there being precious few modern Polynesian materials online), I
would guess that the languages of French Polynesia do that.
If, like Hawaiian, you're stuck with English-style quotation marks for
historical reasons, an obvious typographic solution is to thin-space
them, French-style. (See previous thread!). That seems visually
preferable to relying on a small difference in size of what is already
a small letter compared to everything else on the page.

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