LINGUIST List 10.1990

Tue Dec 21 1999

Qs: Hangzhou Numerals & Unicode, ISSHAR & Unicode

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  1. Patrick Andries, Hangzhou Numerals/ Unicode
  2. Patrick Andries, ISSHAR/ Bengali and Oriya

Message 1: Hangzhou Numerals/ Unicode

Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 00:12:50 -0500
From: Patrick Andries <>
Subject: Hangzhou Numerals/ Unicode

Another problem related to Unicode, but this time Chinese.

Unicode has named the numerals used by shopkeepers (I can
send rough reprensentation) Hangzhou numerals (U+3021 for 1
which is a vertical bar).
My problem is that I don't seem to find anyone else but
Unicode that names those numerals Hangzhou.

 In Putonghua, I believe they are called su1-zhou1-ma3-zi,
"Suzhou numerals". In Cantonese they are, according to
Sidney Lau, called the "Soochow" characters. There are
other names reported in Matthew's Mandarin dictionary, with
similar names in Cantonese.
They are also called "Suzhou"/"Commercial" numbers in the
Chinese-Russian Encyclopedia, also giving su1-zhou1-ma3-er.
The "Chinese Encyclopedia, Vol. 8" also calls them "Suzhou

This is what I found in G. Ifrah's Histoire universelle des
chiffres (2 volumes of a thousand pages each, I'm not sure 
this edition has been translated into English), vol. I, p. 633
� To the various forms presented above, one needs to add the
very special aspect of the signs used only by shopkeepers to 
indicate the price of thei wares. Called g�n m� z� 
["kan ma tseu" in EFEO transcription] ("secret
marks"), these numerals are those that every foreigner
visiting the center of China must absolutely know if he is 
to understand the amount of his bill. �
G. Ifrah has two variants for numeral five (the form
represented in the character charts and a kind of z in latin 
script) and numeral one hundred (a kind of hooked theta and 
some character looking like a 3) (not in ISO 10646/Unicode).

Can someone tell me what those numerals are called ? Is
Hangzhou numerals a known denomination ? Or then, what
should they be called ?

Patrick Andries
Saint-Hubert (Qu�bec)

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Message 2: ISSHAR/ Bengali and Oriya

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 23:09:06 -0500
From: Patrick Andries <>
Subject: ISSHAR/ Bengali and Oriya

Unicode has encoded two characters that it names ISSHAR, one for Bengali
(U+09FA) and one for Oriya (U+0B70).

1) I was wondering how this name is written Bengali (and Oriya) ? More
specifically how is � SSH � parsed ? Is it something like SA+VIRAMA+SHA (s')
or SSA+( s.) VIRAMA+HA (or a third alternative) ?

2) Also what is it used for ?

P. Andries
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