On May 13, 2008, at 9:12 AM, Julia Flanders wrote:
> Here's a bit of minutiae to trouble you all with:
> In texts which use a left single quote instead of a "c" in names
> beginning with "Mc", is it customary (or good) practice to
> transcribe this character as a left single quote, or as a
> superscripted "c"? We are trying to understand whether the use of
> this character was intended to represent a "c" to the reader's eye
> (in other words, it is functioning graphemically as a "c") or
> whether it has a more complex typographic meaning that needs to be
> retained (e.g. the idea that the use of "c" in the "Mc" prefix is
> actually a convention that itself supersedes and regularizes a
> spelling better conveyed by the quotation mark).
> Does anyone out there have guidelines concerning the transcription
> of this usage?
Closely examining "André: a Tragedy in Five Acts", by William Dunlap
(New York, T. & J. Swords, 1798), I see that the symbol is neither a
superscripted c, for it has the basic comma shape, nor a left single
quote, for, while it closely resembles one, it is closer to the
baseline, so that it dips below x height, which a single quote does
not do, and its top is well below ascender height, which a single
In short, I believe an application to the Unicode Consortium is in
order; at present, this character is neither accepted nor in the
pipeline. I would volunteer to shepherd it myself, but I am completely
without credentials and so ignorant that I cannot even provide
appropriate termini a quo & ad quem.
John W Kennedy
Read the remains of Shakespeare's lost play, now annotated!