[Spellyans] <y Y> + diacritical

stinney at sas.upenn.edu stinney at sas.upenn.edu
Thu Jun 26 02:24:39 BST 2008

Quoting Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com>:

> At 21:12 +0300 2008-06-25, Owen Cook wrote:
> >To argue that y-acute is out of the question
> >because the minority of Mac users who are
> >technologically inept will find it awkward,
> >seems rather a bizarre constraint.
> That is NOT what I said. I said NOTHING about
> "technological ineptness". I said that there are
> are using TODAY that don't have this letter, and
> we will never, ever fix them. That has nothing to
> do with their ineptness. It is not "awkward". It
> is a recipe for failure.


> I think I am right to insist that we be fair to
> Mac users of Cornish no less than Windows users
> of Cornish.

I am not sure that the situation is as bad as you say, Michael.  I would prefer
not to use diacritics, but if they are really necessary then the choices should
be clear and it seems from the discussion that y-acute should be a valid
contender for consideration.  The situation with y-acute is as follows (I know
you know all this Michael, so bear with me).

 Y/y-acute are in ISO-8859-1 ("latin-1") at 0xdd and 0xfd, and the same in

 They are in Windows CP-1252, ISO Western 2 and ISO-Adobe at the same locations.

 These characters are *not* in the codepage Mac Roman. So, it is true that fonts
which *only* support Mac Roman do not provide y-acute.

But how serious is this?  Are there really "TENS OF THOUSANDS" of fonts which
support only Mac Roman?  And what is the relative frequency of use of these
fonts compared to, say, the common web fonts or the common PDF fonts?

On my Mac running Tiger the character palette tells me there are 182 fonts which
contain y-acute.  Perhaps 24 of them are fonts I have installed myself.

So, any user of a reasonably recent Mac has about 150 system fonts which provide
y-acute.  In addition, any 3rd party font which supports any of the code pages
listed above also includes y-acute.

Perhaps the occasional person will occasionally experience the situation that a
favourite font does not provide y-acute, but my expectation, at least, would be
that this would be extremely uncommon and should not be a deal-breaker in the
choice between y-diaresis and y-acute.


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