Campaigning For an Inverted Interrobang in Unicode

After a 3-4 month break, I was catching up on mail in the Unicode email list and I noticed a number of threads about the interrobang (my favorite punctuation point and perhaps my favorite Unicode code point (U+203D)).

At Debconf5, I was talking with a number of the Spanish speaking developers about the lack of an inverted interrobang in Unicode which renders the glyph less useful in Spanish which normally prefixes questions or exclamations with inverted versions of the glyph at the end of the sentence. Why shouldn’t this carry over the interrobang as well‽ I was, quite seriously, thinking about writing up a proposal for the inclusion of an inverted interrobang myself when I found this message from Michael Everson on the Unicode email list:

N2935: Proposal to add INVERTED INTERROBANG to the UCS http://www.evertype.com/standards/iso10646/pdf/n2935-interrobang.pdf

This will be posted to the WG2 and L2 sites in due course.

After composing a message to Michael thanking him for his proposal, I realized (helped by the announcement to withdraw the entire Unicode Standard immediately after Michael’s proposal) that the proposal has been sent on April 1st and was, in all likelihood, a joke. How cruel is it to toy with my emotions like this‽

Sent about a month later, I found another message from Michael saying:

I suppose I should note that despite the date of its publication I am completely serious about: http://www.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2935.pdf

I have written Michael to confirm that he is serious. In any situation, I think it is important that all supporters of the interrobang (and it’s inverted cousin) make their voice heard in Unicode to ensure that the inverted interrobang gains a much-deserved spot of its own in the standard.

Update: Michael Everson has told me that the Unicode Technical Committee has asked him to first find Hispanic support for an inverted interrobang. If someone knows of this or of a list for Spanish typographers where we can ask, please let me know.

2 thoughts on “Campaigning For an Inverted Interrobang in Unicode”

  1. From wikipedia:

    <i>The interrobang is not a standard punctuation mark. Few modern typefaces or fonts include an interrobang among the available characters. It is at Unicode code point U+203D. It can be used in HTML documents with &#8253; or &#x203D;, although the second form has poor support in common web browsers.</i>

    :-)

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