Okina

From Academic Kids

Template:Titlelacksdiacritics The ‘okina is the Hawaiian apostrophe-like character used to indicate the glottal stop consonant. It is properly represented by a glyph identical to an opening left single quotation mark, that is, with the appearance (‘). The name of the island group itself in Hawaiian includes the mark, thus, Hawai‘i.

Contents

Encoding and displaying the ‘okina

Old conventions

In plain ASCII the ‘okina is sometimes represented by the apostrophe character ('), ASCII value 39 in decimal and 27 in hexadecimal, which in most fonts currently used renders as a straight, data-processing, typewriter apostrophe as is also specified in Unicode. But in some older fonts, especially those used on Unix platforms and related platforms and on an MS-DOS screen it renders as a right single quotation mark (which is the wrong shape). A more pedantic and ultra-correct method for plain ASCII text is to use the grave accent character (`), ASCII value 96 in decimal and 60 in hexadecimal, which in some older fonts, especially those used on older Un*x platforms, does display a glyph similar to a left single quotation mark.

The new standard and transitional problems

The official Unicode value for ‘okina is the Unicode character U+02BB MODIFIER LETTER TURNED COMMATemplate:Unicode ) which can be rendered in HTML and Wikipedia coding by the entity ʻ (or in hexadecimal form ʻ).

But lack of support for this character in older fonts (and many newer fonts) along with the large amount of legacy data and expense in time and money to convert has prevented easy and universal use of the new character. However U+02BB should be the value used in encoding new data when the expected use of the data permits.

This character is also a proper one for a Latin-letter transliteration of the Hebrew letter ‘ayin and the Arabic letter ‘ain. They are sometimes also rendered by a superscript half ring with the opening to the right ( Template:Unicode ) or even, as a typographical fallback, a superscript cc ).

A display work-around

The Unicode character U+02BB appears on your current browser with default settings as ( ʻ ). Because this character is not found in many fonts, it may not appear properly on all systems and in all configurations. Accordingly where U+02BB should properly be used this article uses the Unicode punctuation character U+2018 LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK repesented by the HTML entities ‘ or ‘ or ‘. This punctuation symbol is also used instead of the recommended turned comma letter symbol in many Wikipedia articles in transliterations from Semitic languages to assure proper display on the widest number of browsers.

Another problem

In some sans-serif fonts non-bolded and at normal size, the left single quotation character does not render distinctly different from the straight apostrophe or from the right single quotation character. If ‘okinas in this article appear as straight typewriter quotation marks to you, you may need to enlarge the font display in your browser. In Hawaiian, where only one of these curly quotation forms is used as a letter, this matters little. It is more problematical in displaying transliterations from Semitic langaguages where both left-quotation and right-quotation characters are used with different meanings.

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