Ancient Greek apostrophe marking elision

Kalvesmaki, Joel via Unicode unicode at
Mon Jan 28 09:21:54 CST 2019

In publishing critical editions of ancient/medieval Greek texts, I regularly deals with editions that mix elision and closing single-quotation marks. That is, I cannot assume without context that an instance of U+2019 represents either an ancient/medieval elision mark or modern editorial punctuation. I therefore have no expectations on ideal behavior when double-clicking a string with U+2019.

Best wishes,


Joel Kalvesmaki
Editor in Byzantine Studies
Dumbarton Oaks
1703 32nd St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 339-6435
From: Unicode <unicode-bounces at> on behalf of Mark Davis ☕️ via Unicode <unicode at>
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2019 3:37:54 AM
To: James Tauber
Cc: Richard Wordingham; Unicode Mailing List
Subject: Re: Ancient Greek apostrophe marking elision

It would certainly be possible (and relatively simple) to change ’ into a word character for languages that don't use ’ for any other purpose. And if no languages using a particular script use ’ for another purpose, then it is particularly easy. (If you depend on language tagging, then any software that doesn't maintain the language tagging will cause it to revert to the default behavior.)

So does modern Greek use ’ for in trailing environments where people wouldn't expect it to be included in word selection?


On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 8:49 AM James Tauber <jtauber at<mailto:jtauber at>> wrote:
On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 2:31 AM Mark Davis ☕️ <mark at<mailto:mark at>> wrote:
But the question is how important those are in daily life. I'm not sure why the double-click selection behavior is so much more of a problem for Ancient Greek users than it is for the somewhat larger community of English users. Word selection is not normally as important an operation as line break, which does work as expected.

Even if they don't _really_ care about word selection, there are digital classicists who care even less about U+2019 being the preferred character which makes it harder for me to make my case :-)

What triggered the question in my original post about tailoring the Word Boundary Rules was the statement in TR29 "A further complication is the use of the same character as an apostrophe and as a quotation mark. Therefore leading or trailing apostrophes are best excluded from the default definition of a word." Because Ancient Greek does not have that ambiguity, there's no need for the exclusion in that case. Immediately following that quote is a suggestion about tailoring for French and Italian which made we wonder if the "right" thing to do is to tailor the WBRs for Ancient Greek.

I know you've said here (and in your original response to me) that you don't think it's worth it, but is WBR tailoring (the only|the best|a) technically correct way to achieve with U+2019 (in Ancient Greek) what people are abusing U+02BC for?



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