Computers & Writing Systems
Puncta in the BHS
Ezra SIL Font Pages
Puncta extraordinaria are round or diamond-shaped marks found in some biblical Hebrew texts. The example is of the lower mark. They can appear above or below a consonant, and can occur with other marks. The printed Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), includes both upper and lower marks and they are encoded in the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) (Michigan-Claremont encoding) as 52 and 53.
The SIL Ezra Standard Encoding (SE) encodes the characters as punctum and punctum2 at d178 and d179.
Unicode 4.0 defines a HEBREW MARK UPPER DOT — U+05C4, but does not document how it is to be used. In Summer 2003, it was clarified by a member of the The Standards Institution of Israel committee that U+05C4 is the upper punctum, and not the Ketiv-Qere dot or the dot used in a Hebrew numbering system indicating hundreds. The Ezra SIL fonts have encoded U+05C4 as the upper punctum extraordinarium.
Unicode 4.1 defines a HEBREW MARK LOWER DOT — U+05C5 for the lower dot of the puncta extraordinaria, and the Ezra SIL fonts now encode this as the lower punctum extraordinarium. The upper punctum can occur alone (ex. 2) or together with the lower punctum (ex. 1)
In previous versions of the Ezra SIL fonts, we encoded U+0323 COMBINING DOT BELOW as the lower punctum, and before that in the PUA. These should no longer be used.
Examples of Puncta in Biblical Hebrew
2008-02-29 JW: reviewed
2003-09-30 JW: page creation