I didn’t realise that doing Ancient Greek on computers was still a problem, but I found out otherwise today. We all remember a myriad of incompatible fonts, and partial support for obscure characters; and like most people I imagined that Unicode had taken our problems away. Hah!
Unicode character 0304 is the “combining macron”. What that means, to you and I, is the horizontal line above a long vowel. Character 0306 is the “combining breve” – the little bow above a short vowel. The “combining” bit means that if you stick one after an “A” in a wordprocessor, the display will stick it above the preceding letter. Both symbols are required to display dictionary material correctly, of course. Poetry needs this stuff.
Today I find that neither character is supported in quite a range of fonts. Palatino Linotype, found on every PC, doesn’t support either. Ms Arial Unicode supports both, but of course most people don’t have it (or has that changed?). The links I give above give you lists of supporting fonts, mostly conspicuous for not being present on most PC’s.
This is a bit silly. Come on, chaps, I thought this was sorted out years ago.
I wonder if I can remember where I met a Microsoft font chap, and suggest to him that Palatino be extended to include these?
An interesting list of fonts tested by the TLG people is here.