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LRC Blog

April 3, 2006

Jonathan Slocum

Letters Missing from Unicode

N.B. The email exchange below may have been edited, e.g. to remove content not essential to the main point(s) or to standardize English spelling/grammar.

Query

I was looking through Unicode for a way to distinguish retroflex 'l' from vocalic 'l'. I would like to write the vocalic liquids with subscript circle, and the retroflex consonants consistently with subscript dot. There is an r+circle but no l+circle. Am I missing something?

D. H.

Response

What you seem to be missing is the fact that Unicode does not attempt to provide Latin letters with all diacritics or combinations thereof. I don't know how they chose what they chose, but others must be composed with non-spacing diacritics.

I assume, by "subscript circle," you refer to what in Unicode and elsewhere is called "ring below." Unicode has the following:

U+0325 : combining ring below, a.k.a. non-spacing ring below

So enter this character after L to get your L with ring below. FYI there is a combining dot below, and numerous others. In order to view some of these characters, you may need a hefty Unicode font. I can't tell what your platform is, but in Windows the usual Arial and Times New Roman fonts lack "ring below." However, Lucida Sans Unicode has it. If you have a Mac with OS X 10.2 or above, it should [I assume] be in Lucida Grande. For the names of a few other [Unicode-compliant] fonts, see our note re: Text Encodings.

J. S.