oo with macron, uu with breve

I am working on a font project for teachers who specialize in helping struggling young readers. The teachers need the fonts to include oo with a single macron above and uu with a single breve above. These characters do not appear to be in Unicode. Has anyone dealt with these glyphs before? Is there an expected practice for setting these characters up to be accessed with a ligature in programs that don’t have a glyph palette?


  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 931
    I've done one of those before. I added them to the private use area with a name like omacron_omacron. Then I just added a sub to the liga feature for each one. Then make sure, whatever app they're using has liga on by default.
  • Are you sure it’s not /uni035D (combining double breve) and /uni035E (combining double macron)?
  • There is Ꝏ/ꝏ and W/w, but not with a macron or breve.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,664
    Are you sure it’s not /uni035D (combining double breve) and /uni035E (combining double macron)?
    This client needs the actual letters with the mark. This does not seem to be how this is intended to be used, but it’s not really helpful for them to have to do it by entering the unicode sequences for the combining mark on Windows.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,687
    edited March 2013
    There's a couple of options here. When I've worked with people who want double letters with a single accent, the encoding preference has sometimes been to encode them as single letters with single accents and then have them ligate. So, for instance, one might encode ōō and then have the font map to a ligature or some other glyph-level solution. In a specialised font for a particular user group, such as you describe, this is viable because you don't have to worry about someone needing to set a language in which this ligation is not desirable.

    Another option would be to use the double width macron and breve characters in the Unicode Combining Diacritical Marks block, as James Todd suggests. These characters are often problematic and generally avoided because they are difficult to optically position nicely when used with glyphs of differing widths, but since you are using them only with oo and uu, this might be a viable option. The double width mark would be encoded between the two letters, and the easiest way to handle it would be to centre it on a zero width, so that it naturally covers the letters on either side.
  • 1. Don't put ligatures in the PUA, because Unicode (including the PUA) is expected to be a character encoding, not a glyph encoding.

    2. I'd go for the technically sound way of John’s second option, because you cannot exclude the case that one day someone will want to make the texts available to someone else. The only problem: How do they type it? Entering Unicode sequences seems too much to ask for. But there are two ways out:

    (a) You can provide them with a different keyboard layout. I seem to remember there was a free Windows app for that, similar to Ukelele on the Mac. Maybe it was this one here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/goglobal/bb964665.aspx

    (b) I seem to remember something else about keyboard input on Windows (sorry, it's been such a long time I touched these things), namely a Special Character Map, where you can assign your own keyboard shortcuts for letters you cannot type otherwise. I think it's this here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/using-special-characters-character-map-frequently-asked-questions This way, they can assign their own shortcut for double macron etc.
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