combining character
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In
digital typography Desktop publishing (DTP) is the creation of documents using page layout In graphic design, page layout is the arrangement of visual elements on a Page (paper), page. It generally involves organizational principles of Composition (visual arts ...
, combining characters are characters that are intended to modify other characters. The most common combining characters in the Latin script are the combining
diacritical marks A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent) is a glyph added to a letter (alphabet), letter or to a basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek (, "distinguishing"), from (, "to distinguish"). T ...
(including combining accents).
Unicode Unicode, formally The Unicode Standard,The formal version reference is is an information technology standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard, ...
also contains many
precomposed character A precomposed character (alternatively composite character or decomposable character) is a Unicode entity that can also be defined as a sequence of one or more other characters. A precomposed character may typically represent a letter with a diacri ...
s, so that in many cases it is possible to use both combining diacritics and precomposed characters, at the user's or application's choice. This leads to a requirement to perform
Unicode normalization Unicode equivalence is the specification by the Unicode character (computing), character encoding standard that some sequences of code points represent essentially the same character. This feature was introduced in the standard to allow compatibil ...
before comparing two Unicode strings and to carefully design encoding converters to correctly map all of the valid ways to represent a character in Unicode to a legacy encoding to avoid data loss. In Unicode, the main block of combining diacritics for European languages and the
International Phonetic Alphabet The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written graphemes (called letter (alphabet), letters) that represent the phonemes of certain spoken languages. Not all writing syste ...
is U+0300–U+036F. Combining diacritical marks are also present in many other blocks of Unicode characters. In Unicode, diacritics are always added after the main character (in contrast to some older combining character sets such as
ANSEL ANSEL, the American National Standard for Extended Latin Alphabet Coded Character Set for Bibliographic Use, was a character set used in text encoding. It provided a table of coded values for the representation of characters of the extended Latin ...
), and it is possible to add several diacritics to the same character, including stacked diacritics above and below, though some systems may not render these well.


Unicode ranges

The following blocks are dedicated specifically to combining characters: *Combining Diacritical Marks (0300–036F), since version 1.0, with modifications in subsequent versions down to 4.1 *Combining Diacritical Marks Extended (1AB0–1AFF), version 7.0 *Combining Diacritical Marks Supplement (1DC0–1DFF), versions 4.1 to 5.2 *Combining Diacritical Marks for Symbols (20D0–20FF), since version 1.0, with modifications in subsequent versions down to 5.1 *Combining Half Marks (FE20–FE2F), versions 1.0, with modifications in subsequent versions down to 8.0 Combining characters are not limited to these blocks; for instance, the combining
dakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic most often used in the Japanese language, Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced Voice (phonetics), voiced, for instance, on sounds that have undergone r ...
(U+3099) and combining
handakuten The , colloquially , is a diacritic most often used in the Japanese language, Japanese kana syllabaries to indicate that the consonant of a syllable should be pronounced Voice (phonetics), voiced, for instance, on sounds that have undergone r ...
(U+309A) are in the Hiragana block, the
Devanagari Devanagari ( ; , , Sanskrit pronunciation: ), also called Nagari (),Kathleen Kuiper (2010), The Culture of India, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, , page 83 is a left-to-right abugida (a type of segmental Writing systems#Segmental syste ...
block contains combining vowel signs and other marks for use with that script, and so forth. Combining characters are assigned the Unicode major category "M" ("Mark"). Codepoints U+032A and U+0346–034A are IPA symbols: * U+032A : dental * U+0346 : dentolabial * U+0347 : alveolar * U+0348 : strong articulation * U+0349 : weak articulation * U+034A : denasal Codepoints U+034B–034E are IPA diacritics for
disordered speech Speech disorders or speech impairments are a type of communication disorder in which normal Manner of articulation, speech is disrupted. This can mean stuttering, lisp (speech), lisps, etc. Someone who is unable to speak due to a speech disorder ...
: * U+034B : nasal escape * U+034C : velopharyngeal friction * U+034D : labial spreading * U+034E : whistled articulation U+034F is the "
combining grapheme joiner The combining grapheme joiner (CGJ), is a Unicode character that has no visible glyph and is "default ignorable" by applications. Its name is a misnomer and does not describe its function: the character does not join graphemes. Its purpose is to s ...
" (CGJ) and has no visible glyph. Codepoints U+035C–0362 are double diacritics, diacritic signs placed across two letters. Codepoints U+0363–036F are medieval superscript letter diacritics, letters written directly above other letters appearing in medieval Germanic manuscripts, but in some instances in use until as late as the 19th century. For example, U+0364 is an ''e'' written above the preceding letter, to be used for ( Early)
New High German New High German (NHG; german: Neuhochdeutsch (Nhd.)) is the term used for the most recent period in the history of the German language, starting in the 17th century. It is a loan translation of the German (). The most important characteristic o ...
umlaut notation, such as ''uͤ'' for Modern German ''ü''.


OpenType

OpenType OpenType is a format for scalable computer fonts. It was built on its predecessor TrueType, retaining TrueType's basic structure and adding many intricate data structures for prescribing typography, typographic behavior. OpenType is a registered ...
has the ''ccmp'' "feature tag" to define glyphs that are compositions or decompositions involving combining characters, the ''mark'' tag to define the positioning of combining characters onto base glyph, and ''mkmk'' for the positionings of combining characters onto each other.


Zalgo text

Combining characters have been used to create
Zalgo text Zalgo text, also known as cursed text due to the nature of its use, is digital text that has been modified with numerous combining characters, Unicode symbols used to add diacritics above or below letters, to appear frightening or glitchy. Named ...
, which is text that appears "corrupted" or "creepy" due to an overuse of diacritics. This causes the text to extend vertically, overlapping other text.


See also

*
Dotted circle The dotted circle, in Unicode, is a typographic character used to illustrate the effect of a combining mark, such as a diacritic mark. In Windows, it is possible to use the key combination to produce the character. Illustration A Unicode combi ...
*
Dead key A dead key is a special kind of modifier key on a mechanical typewriter, or computer keyboard, that is typically used to attach a specific diacritic to a base letter (alphabet), letter. The dead key does not generate a (complete) grapheme, charact ...
*
Spacing Modifier Letters Spacing Modifier Letters is a Unicode block containing characters for the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA, Uralic Phonetic Alphabet, UPA, and other phonetic transcriptions. Included are the IPA tone marks, and modifiers for aspiration (phone ...
which shouldn't combine (although they do erroneously on some implementations where a developer has confused "combining" with "modifier")


Notes


External links


Combining diacritics chart
(in Adobe
PDF Portable Document Format (PDF), standardized as ISO 32000, is a file format A file format is a Computer standard, standard way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode informatio ...
format)
Combining diacritics supplement chart
(in Adobe
PDF Portable Document Format (PDF), standardized as ISO 32000, is a file format A file format is a Computer standard, standard way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are used to encode informatio ...
format)
Combining marks
test page facing combined and precomposed letters


DecodeUnicode.org combining diacritical marks reference
{{Unicode navigation Unicode special code points