Italics get used to express important semantic meaning, so unicode should support them

Rebecca Bettencourt beckiergb at
Tue Dec 15 00:47:33 CST 2020

On Sat, Dec 12, 2020 at 6:03 PM David Starner via Unicode <
unicode at> wrote:

> we've had character sets for seven decades,
> virtually all of which supported English, and if any have supported
> italics, I've never heard of it.

ISCII 1991 had a mechanism called ATR Codes for applying styles and
switching character sets (see Annex E of

EF 30 - bold
EF 31 - italic
EF 32 - underline
EF 33 - expanded
EF 34 - highlight
EF 35 - outline
EF 36 - shadow
EF 37 - double height, top half
EF 38 - double height, bottom half
EF 39 - double height and width

Many character sets from 8-bit microcomputers had “inverse” or “reverse
video” characters that were treated as distinct from their “normal video”
counterparts. When we proposed encoding these, as atomic characters or
using variation sequences or by any other means, the UTC shot down the idea

The existence of existing character sets, even when one is a government
standard, can't even get stylistic differences like italics or reverse
video into Unicode.

-- Rebecca Bettencourt
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