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Romanization of Armenian


There are various systems of romanization of the Armenian alphabet.

In linguistic literature on Classical Armenian, the commonly used transliteration is that of Hübschmann-Meillet (1913). It uses a combining dot above mark U+0307 to express the aspirates, ṫ, cḣ, č̇, ṗ, k̇. Some documents were also published using a similar Latin dasia diacritic U+0314, a mirrored comma-apostrophe combining above the letter, which is easier to distinguish visually in t̔, ch̔, č̔, p̔, k̔.

However, the correct support of these combining diacritics has been poor for long in the past and was not very common on many usual applications and computer fonts or rendering systems., so some documents have been published using, as possible fallbacks, their spacing variants such as the modifier letter dot above ˙ U+02D9 written after the letter instead of above it, or the mirrored comma-apostrophe ‛ U+201B written after the letter instead of above it — or sometimes the spacing Greek rude spiritus ῾ U+1FFE (only in printed versions to make sure that it will be curly and not shown as a diagonal wedge or stroke similar to an accent, even though it will often been incorrectly positioned with Latin letters for rendering in simple text renderers on screen, even though the Armenian spiritus mark originates semantically from the Greek mark, but is positioned differently above the right side of Armenian letters, instead of above the left side of Greek letters), or the spacing grave accent ˋ U+02CB even if it is too flat, or even the ASCII backquote ` U+0060, or the ASCII apostrophe-quote ' U+0027 when there was no confusion possible).

But the preferred character today is the modifier letter left half-ring ʿ U+02BF (its combining variant above the letter is not used, see below), or the modifier letter ʽ U+02BD, which is the spacing variant of the dasia diacritic (it is also historically a correct adaptation to the Latin script of the Greek spiritus asper, see rough breathing) with the advantage of having excellent support in many Latin fonts because it is also a simple mirrored comma-apostophe, but encoded as U+02BD to enforce the curly shape of the apostrophe and prohibit its possible wedge shape: the modifier letter U+02BD is often mapped in fonts for fine typography with the same glyph as the U+201B mirrored comma-apostrophe, and will often be easier to read typographically than the very thin half-ring that is too frequently rendered as a superscript left parenthese or superscript small letter c, and U+02BD is used in many English documents prepared with enhanced typography as one of the two possible styles for the left single quotation mark U+201B used to replace the ambiguous ASCII apostrophe-quote). U+02BD can also be used within documents prepared for fine Armenian typography because the Armenian orthography should never use any Latin-style apostrophes for quoting Armenian texts.


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