Oxia vs tonos accent

Bible Study software, Unicode, Fonts, Keyboards, creating Web pages in Greek, and other software issues.
Jason Hare
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jason Hare » September 25th, 2017, 4:38 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
September 24th, 2017, 8:50 pm
I know that in word processing we can change fonts in the middle of a document to be able to include a quote from a polytonic text in the body of a monotonic text, but is it possible to do that in an online publishing environment, without resorting to pdf files?
What do you mean by this? We can, of course, change fonts in the middle of an HTML page. We can embed online fonts to display client-side through use of definitions within a cascading stylesheet (CSS) file (using the @font-face definition).

The specific forum software that we're using here at B-Greek allows for very little control over font display, though.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 25th, 2017, 7:07 am

Jason Hare wrote:
September 25th, 2017, 4:38 am
The specific forum software that we're using here at B-Greek allows for very little control over font display, though.
The one thing we can do is list a set of fonts to be used, depending on what is available on the system. We cannot change it for individual letters. It's quite possible that changing the list of fonts would be a good thing, there may be a better set now than what we specified back then.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Jason Hare
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jason Hare » September 25th, 2017, 8:05 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 25th, 2017, 7:07 am
The one thing we can do is list a set of fonts to be used, depending on what is available on the system. We cannot change it for individual letters. It's quite possible that changing the list of fonts would be a good thing, there may be a better set now than what we specified back then.
Did you know that we have a Greek tag on the forum?

Code: Select all

[greek]ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.[/greek]
ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν.

It's set with the following stack of fonts:
SBL BibLit
Gentium
Times New Roman
Times
Serif

Should anything be added?
Jason A. Hare
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 25th, 2017, 3:21 pm

One thing people can do is add Gentium to their device or make sure they have a Times New Roman or Times that has good support for Unicode.

Stephen: do you know what font your word processor is using for Greek text?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 25th, 2017, 3:23 pm

James Tauber has blogged on this here:

Python, Unicode and Ancient Greek

And here's the money quote:
Canonical Composition won’t necessarily reverse Canonical Decomposition. In other words normalize("NFC", normalize("NFD", s)) won’t necessarily give you back s. An NFC normalization always decomposes first so that code is actually just the same as normalize("NFC", s).

Here are some examples where an NFC normalization changes the character.

GREEK NUMERAL SIGN (U+0374) goes to MODIFIER LETTER PRIME (U+02B9)
GREEK QUESTION MARK (U+037E) goes to SEMICOLON (U+003B)
GREEK ANO TELEIA (U+0387) goes to MIDDLE DOT (U+00B7)

And also:

GREEK VARIA (U+1FEF) goes to GRAVE ACCENT (U+0060)
GREEK OXIA (U+1FFD) goes to ACUTE ACCENT (U+00B4)
GREEK PROSGEGRAMMENI (U+1FBE) goes to GREEK SMALL LETTER IOTA (U+03B9)
GREEK DIALYTIKA AND OXIA (U+1FEE) goes to GREEK DIALYTIKA TONOS (U+0385)

(note these are not the combining versions, but standalone accents not on any letters).

The normalization of OXIA to TONOS means there are also 16 other normalizations like:

GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA WITH OXIA (U+1F71) goes to GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA WITH TONOS (U+03AC)

This normalization means that, for better or worse, polytonic Greek should use the TONOS-based rather than OXIA-based pre-composed characters (where they exist) and use a plain SEMICOLON for question marks rather than U+037E. This allows one to use standard Unicode Normalization. If instead, you wanted to use GREEK QUESTION MARK, then any code to normalize in that direction would have to be custom. I don’t necessarily like all the decisions made by the Unicode Consortium in this regard but at least it’s a convention you can easily point people to.
So use Tonos if you want normalization to work. In my environments, I convert Oxia to Tonos so queries will work the same way for texts that look the same.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 25th, 2017, 9:06 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 25th, 2017, 3:21 pm
Stephen: do you know what font your word processor is using for Greek text?
Calibri. My preference is a general one tough. In terms of the quote from JT:
This normalization means that, for better or worse, polytonic Greek should use the TONOS-based rather than OXIA-based pre-composed characters (where they exist) and use a plain SEMICOLON for question marks rather than U+037E. This allows one to use standard Unicode Normalization.
"Better" is where ά and ᾴ (ύ/ΰ) have the same accent mar and it is as much differentiated from ὰ and ᾲ as possible. "Worse" is where an accent from the monotonic system is for some reasons mixed in or substituted.

On B-Greek, when I type the characters or paste them into the page, they are fine (ie polytonic), but after previewing or submiting, those characters become monotonic (with the rest remaining polytonic).

I think that unfortunately this is a case where print is superior to digital.
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Carlson » September 26th, 2017, 7:43 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 25th, 2017, 3:23 pm
So use Tonos if you want normalization to work. In my environments, I convert Oxia to Tonos so queries will work the same way for texts that look the same.
True, and it's a botch on Unicode's part. Standard fonts that distinguish oxia and tonos (as for example, one of B-Greek's defaults) will end up displaying the wrong one.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 27th, 2017, 3:49 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
September 26th, 2017, 7:43 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 25th, 2017, 3:23 pm
So use Tonos if you want normalization to work. In my environments, I convert Oxia to Tonos so queries will work the same way for texts that look the same.
True, and it's a botch on Unicode's part. Standard fonts that distinguish oxia and tonos (as for example, one of B-Greek's defaults) will end up displaying the wrong one.
Nikolaos Adamou send me an email pointing out that Dionisius Thrax describes the tones this way:
τόνος ἐστὶν ἀπήχησις φωνῆς ἐναρμονίου, ἡ κατὰ ἀνάτασιν ἐν τῇ ὀξείᾳ, ἡ κατὰ ὁμαλισμὸν ἐν τῇ βαρείᾳ, ἡ κατὰ περίκλασιν ἐν τῇ περισπωμένῃ.
So for Thrax, τόνος seems to mean accent, and there are three kinds of τόνος. One of these is Oxia. But modern Greek uses monotonic orthography, with only one kind of τόνος.

Here is Aristotle:
ἔστιν δὲ αὕτη μὲν ἐν τῇ φωνῇ, πῶς αὐτῇ δεῖ χρῆσθαι πρὸς ἕκαστον πάθος, οἷον πότε μεγάλῃ καὶ πότε μικρᾷ καὶ μέσῃ, καὶ πῶς τοῖς τόνοις, οἷον ὀξείᾳ καὶ βαρείᾳ καὶ μέσῃ, καὶ ῥυθμοῖς τίσι πρὸς ἕκαστα.
So he uses μέσῃ instead of περισπωμένῃ.

Incidentally, Plato gives this example of how changing an accent can change meaning:
Σωκράτης: οἷον ‘Διὶ φίλος’ — τοῦτο ἵνα ἀντὶ ῥήματος ὄνομα ἡμῖν γένηται, τό τε ἕτερον αὐτόθεν ἰῶτα ἐξείλομεν καὶ ἀντὶ ὀξείας τῆς μέσης συλλαβῆς βαρεῖαν ἐφθεγξάμεθα.
For these latter two quotes, see: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Citations:βαρεῖα. See also https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Citations:ὀξεῖα.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Stephen Hughes » September 27th, 2017, 10:13 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 27th, 2017, 3:49 pm
[F]or Thrax, τόνος seems to mean accent, and there are three kinds of τόνος. One of these is Oxia. But modern Greek uses monotonic orthography, with only one kind of τόνος.
What prompted the unicode consortium to equate a class with an entity in that class? Effectively there has been a loss of a symbol from the alphabet in some fonts. There was a similar situation in Coptic studies many years ago.

For a long time in the pre-Unicode era when typing Coptic in some fonts meant typing in Greek, and adding the letters distinctive to Coptic. The Greek script was adapted to be used for another language, and then the moment of adaption of the script was conceptually extended in time. The resulting problem was the sigma. The lunate sigma (sima) used in Coptic was unavailable, and we had to use the epigraphic sigma. Printed works (such as the Gospel of Thomas or grammars) containing phrases like "using a font designed by ..." testify to the inadequacy of the font situation at that time.
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Alan Bunning
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Re: Oxia vs tonos accent

Post by Alan Bunning » October 29th, 2017, 9:35 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
September 24th, 2017, 5:59 pm
We are using tonos, which is what digital classicist recommends in your OP - do you know where the Unicode standard says oxia is deprecated? I spent about 15 minutes looking, but didn't find it. It's probably there.
I spent some more time on this and cannot find any evidence that those oxia characters are “deprecated”. (Of course, I discover this after I converted all of my data to use the tonos accent :o) There is a deprecated field in the latest Unicode 10.0 specification (http://unicode.org/versions/Unicode10.0.0/) and those characters are clearly NOT marked as deprecated. Here is where you can download files with the standard: http://www.unicode.org/Public/10.0.0/. Yes, the oxia characters do “normalize” to the equivalent tonos characters, but that does not mean they are officially “deprecated”. Here is another discussion that includes some other Greek characters that were so-called “deprecated”, and those characters are not officially marked as deprecated either: http://unicode.org/review/pr-122.html. Apparently, this word “deprecated” is being used for “discouraged” in these discussions, yet the characters are still not officially marked as deprecated. Here you can see all of the codes that are officially deprecated and none of them are Greek: http://unicode.org/cldr/utility/list-un ... ated=Yes:]
So if indeed these characters are not “deprecated”, is the fact that these oxia characters are not the normalized form a sufficient reason not to use them? Normalization is for comparing characters, but that does not mean that the non-normalized form is necessarily wrong does it? Where might it become a problem down the road?

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