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NRSI: Computers & Writing Systems

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You are here: Type Design
Short URL: http://scripts.sil.org/HooktopYVariants

Variants for Hooktop Y (U+01B3 and U+01B4)

Peter Constable, 2003-03-13

Some languages of West Africa use a hooktop y. Upper- and lower-case forms are encoded in Unicode:

  • U+01B3 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER Y WITH HOOK
  • U+01B4 LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH HOOK

The following images show the typeforms that are used as representative glyphs in the Unicode code charts:

U+01B3 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER Y WITH HOOK

U+01B4 LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH HOOK



Now, we are aware of areas in which users like a different form for the uppercase:

Right-hook form of U+01B3



This allows the upper- and lower-case forms to match with respect to which side the hook is on:

Upper- and lower-case hooktop y with hook on the right



For instance, we have been told by staff in Burkina Faso that they prefer this alternate form for U+01B3.

This raises a question: there is another possible form for the lowercase:

Left-hook form of U+01B4



This would allow both the upper- and lower-case forms to have the hook on the left:

Upper- and lower-case hooktop y with hook on the left



The question is this: is this alternate form for the lowercase actually used anywhere?

If you have any information regarding languages or regions in which this alternate form for the lowercase hooktop y is used, please use the response mechanism (see the link below).

I've also got questions about some other characters used in Africa on a follow-up page: More Questions About African Characters and Variants. If you're interested, why not look at that page as well to see if there's any insight you can offer on those characters!



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Note: the opinions expressed in submitted contributions below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of our website.

 Reply
"Don Osborn", Fri, Mar 14, 2003 02:08 (CST)

Hooked-y\'s

As far as I know the right hook forms (upper and lower case) were/are more or less standard in West Africa. At least this is what I\'ve seen in Fulfulde and Hausa -with exception of text produced with international fonts that, like the Unicode charts, use the left-hook upper case. I\'d be interested to know where the left hook upper case came from (what region/language).

The following charts from the 1978 Niamey \"expert meeting\" on harmonization of transcription may be of interest: http://www.bisharat.net/Documents/Niamey78annex.htm

Hope this helps.

 Reply
peterc, Mon, Mar 17, 2003 01:04 (CST)

Hooked y\'s

I\'ve looked in several fonts used by SIL projects in West Africa, and found that none of them use a left-hook form for either lower- or upper-case y.

 Reply
"Doug Higby", Fri, Mar 21, 2003 05:52 (CST)

Right-hook Y

I confirm that I have never seen a left-hook Y until I began converting fonts to Unicode. My experience is limited to West Africa. We would much rather have a right-hook uppercase Y to correspond with the lowercase y.

 Reply
"Don Osborn", Mon, May 5, 2003 18:07 (CDT) [modified by peterc on Mon, May 5, 2003 18:43 (CDT)]

Hooked Y in pre ISO 6438

A 1979 document \"Coded Character Set for African Languages\" that from appearances is a forerunner to the ISO 6438 African character set shows the capital hooked-Y with the hook on the left. There is no indication of how the characters in the chart or their form were identified. See  http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/ISO-IR/039.pdf.

A more recent version of ISO 6438 with virtually the same glyphs is at  http://anubis.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/open/02n3129.pdf.

The glyph forms in ISO 6438 were of course incorporated into ISO 10646 / Unicode.

Thanks to Eric Rasmussen for these references.

 Reply
"Don Osborn", Sun, May 11, 2003 05:04 (CDT) [modified by peterc on Mon, May 12, 2003 12:46 (CDT)]

U+01B3 & U+01B4 in Unicode 4.0

Just noted that the beta version of Unicode 4.0 has the same description for these characters as 3.2 :

01B3 - LATIN CAPITAL LETTER Y WITH HOOK
01B4 - LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH HOOK
• Bini, Esoko, and other Edo languages in West Africa

It might be opportune to mention under 01B3 that the glyph may also have the hook to the right, and under 01B4 that the character is also used in Hausa (Niger) and Fula.

Curiously, Hartell\'s (1993) data does not show the hooked y for Edo/Bini in Nigeria (see  http://www.bisharat.net/A12N/NIGERIA-table.htm or  http://www.rosettaproject.org:8080/live/search/showpages?ethnocode=EDO&doctype=ortho&version=0&scale=six). Can anyone clarify? If it is indeed used, is it possible that the left hook capital hooked-Y is the preferred variant there?

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