Geological symbols

Philippe Verdy via Unicode unicode at
Mon Jan 13 18:07:32 CST 2020

It is possible with some other markup languages, including HTML by using
ruby notation and other interlinear notations for creating special vertical
layouts inside an horizontal line.

There are difficulties however caused by line wraps which may occur before
the vertical layout, or even inside it for each stacked item, and for
managing the lineheight for the whole line. Finally you could endup with
the same problems as those found in mathematical formulas... and for
composing Egyptian hieroglyphs of Visiblespeech, for which a markup
language has to be defined (with a convention, similar to an orthographic
or typographic convention) in addition to the core characters that are used
to build up the composition, and possibly some extra styling (to adjust the
size of individual items, or to align them properly in the stack and fit
them cleanly in the composition area (e.g. an ideographic square). Final
difficulties are added by bidirectionality

Not all texts are purely linear (unidimensional) and a linear
representation is difficult to interpret without adding the markup syntax
inside the source text and sometimes aven adding extra symbols (or
punctuation) in the linear composition, which would not be needed in a true
bidimensional layout. Unicode does not encode characters for the second
dimension and the layout, so it's up to markup languages (or orthographic
conventions) to define the extra semantics and/or layout. A font alone
cannot guess without these conventions, and even if these conventions are
used, assumptions made could infer sometimes the incorrect layout.

Le lun. 13 janv. 2020 à 17:16, Oren Watson via Unicode <unicode at>
a écrit :

> This is not possible in unicode plaintext as far as I can tell, since
> Unicode doesn't allow overstriking arbitrary characters over each other the
> way more advanced layout systems, e.g. LaTeX do. It is however possible to
> engineer a font to arrange those characters like that by using aggressive
> kerning.
> On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 10:14 AM Thomas Spehs (MonMap) via Unicode <
> unicode at> wrote:
>> Hi, I would like to ask if there is any way to create geological
>> “symbols” with Unicode such as: Q₁¹ˉ², but with the two “1”s over each
>> other, without a space. Thanks!
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