Character set oddities

While referencing other fonts to determine the character set for font I'm developing, I came across two characters without unicodes labeled "a.superior" and "o.superior" which are identical to ordfeminine (00AA) and ordmasculine (00BA). I was wondering what would be the reasoning behind having these glyphs in a font?

This is my first post, and I'm in the process of launching a new foundry, so any feedback is greatly appreciated.


  • Presumably those would be associated with the OpenType 'sups' feature.
  • Thank you for the response. I appreciate it.
  • They are not superiors/superscript; they are ordinals. Read more about them, here:
    There is a lot of information available via a Google search.
  • I’m not quite convinced that the ordinals ª and º should be typographically different from the superscript a and o. I treat them equally in size, height and proportions.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,869
    @Kent Lew

    As I understand it, in those languages that most utilize the ordfeminine and ordmasculine, an underscore may be desirable. (I’ve certainly heard this from Portuguese typographers.)

    I've heard contradictory feedback on this, and suspect there may also be differences between regional preferences, e.g. between Portugal and Brazil.

    My tendency is to make the two ordinal character glyphs with the underscore, on the basis that if someone really wants to display ordinals without the underscore then they can use the superscript characters or <sups> feature. But perhaps I should also be mapping the latter as Stylistic Set variants of the ordinal characters?

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    suspect there may also be differences between regional preferences, e.g. between Portugal and Brazil.

    I have wondered as much myself. Igor might have insight.

    If the different preferences are strong enough, distinct, and consistent, then presumably one could localize with language tags.

    I tend to apply the same logic as you regarding the default ordinals. I suppose a sset mapping wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I wonder how often a user would take the trouble to seek it out.

  • I Don't have studied the subject in depth, but as a native of the Portuguese language I say that  imagine the ordinals smaller than the superscript characters(not just underlined). Which does not mean much.

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