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Query Details

Query Subject:   Cyrillic Letters in Various Orthographies
Author:   Deborah Anderson
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Writing Systems
Subject Language(s):  Chukot

Query:   There has been a request to add four Cyrillic letters to Unicode. These
letters are used in Chukchi, Itelmen, Nivkh, and Khanti orthographies.
Feedback from linguists and users is needed in order to evaluate the newly
proposed characters because they closely resemble others already in the
standard, except for the shape of the hook (=''tail''/''descender''). As
LSA liaison to Unicode, I am writing to solicit your assistance.

**NOTE: I have a PDF I can email anyone who wishes to see images of the
letters, and would be happy to forward it. Feedback is needed before 1
August, preferably as soon as possible. If you know of anyone who
specializes in the languages/orthographies cited below, please let me know,
and I can contact them.**

The new letters are:
(a) Cyrillic Capital Letter EL with Hook and Cyrillic Small Letter EL with
Hook used in Chukchi, Itelmen, and Khanti orthographies and
(b) Cyrillic Capital Letter HA with Hook and Cyrillic Small Letter HA with
Hook in Itelmen and Nivkh orthographies.

These resemble (except in the shape of the hook/tail):
(a) 04C5 Cyrillic Capital Letter EL with Tail and 04C6 Cyrillic Small
Letter EL with Tail (small letter is used in Kildin Sami)
(b) 04B2 Cyrillic Capital Letter HA with Descender and 04B3 Cyrillic Small
Letter HA with Descender (small letter is used in used in Abkhasian, Tajik,

1. Are these characters (i.e., EL with Hook vs EL with Tail, HA with Hook
vs. HA with Descender) to be distinguished? In other words, would it be
wrong to use the CYRILLIC SMALL LETTER HA WITH DESCENDER in, for example,
the Nivkh or Itelmen orthography? Or could the one be used for the other,
without loss of meaning?

2. Is there considerable variation in the appearance of the ''hooks''
(=''descenders'', ''tails'') for these letters in the writing systems you
are familiar with?

3. Are there cases where the similar-looking letters (EL with Hook and EL
with Tail, HA with Hook and HA with Descender) might appear in the same
document, and hence would need to be distinguished?

4. Do you have any texts for Chukchi, Itelmen, Nivkh and Khanti using the
already encoded Unicode characters (U+04C5, U+04C6, U+04B2, U+04B3)?

Please send responses (or further questions) to Deborah Anderson at: (or

With many thanks and best wishes,

Deborah Anderson
Script Encoding Initiative
Dept. of Linguistics
UC Berkeley
LL Issue: 16.2251
Date posted: 25-Jul-2005


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