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Computing With Accents and Foreign Scripts

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Coptic

Page Content

  1. About the Script
  2. Early vs. Late Unicode Coptic
  3. Browser and Font Recommendations
  4. Coptic Keyboards for Typing
  5. Web Development
    1. Language Code: cop
  6. Coptic Unicode Chart (New Page)
  7. Links

About the Script

The Coptic script is an adaptation of the Greek alphabet for the latter stages of Egyptian spoken in the Roman and early Christian periods. Most of the Coptic akovetuc forms are similar to the Greeks alphabet, but Coptic also includes symbols for sounds not found in Greek. Coptic was replaced by Arabic in Egypt, but is still used in the Coptic Christian church liturgy and is being revived as a spoken language.

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Early vs. Late Unicode Coptic

Early Unicode

When Coptic was first encoded into the Unicode standard, it was considered to be an alternate version of the Greek alphabet. Thus letters such as Coptic Alfa (ⲁ) was merged with Greek alpha (α), and only Demotic "extensions" such as Coptic Shei (ϣ) were given seprate code points (15 total). Unicode fonts with Coptic from that era had only these extra characters.

Later Unicode (Unicode 4.1 and beyond)

As of Unicode 4.1 (2005), Coptic was assigned its own "block" so that each letter from alfa to oou were assigned their own letters. The new block also includes Coptic manuscript punctuation, Coptic variants and other symbols. Note that the codes for the original Demotic extensions are still in the Greek block.

Although support for the most recent version of Coptic is essential, you may need to consider that some documents may be written for older standards.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts

The following freeware fonts are available for both Windows and Mac:

Recommended Browsers

The following browsers gave the best results for all of Coptic, but for many browsers you will have to change your default fonts to something like Quivira (English pages will still be readable). Click link for each browser to view instructions on changing fonts in that browser.

Test Sites

If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web sites above should display the correct characters. If you have difficulties, see list below for font and browser configuration instructions.

Manually Switch Encoding

If you see Roman character gibberish instead of a South Asian script, you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Unicode encoding under the View menu of your browser.

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Coptic Keyboards for Fonts

Coptic Keyboards

Neither Microsoft or Apple provide Coptic keyboard utilties, but freeware is available from:

Unicode Chart with Keyboard Codes

See the Unicode chart for Coptic to see OS X Hex codes, Windows XP ALT codes and HTML entity codes. Note that the correct Unicode font must be installed in order for the codes to work. See the Browsers Section for details.

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Web Development

Coptic Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">
...
<head>

Declare Unicode

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">
...
<head>

XHTML

The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
...
<head>

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Inputting and Editing Text in an HTML Editor

One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.

Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.

Other Web Tools

For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.

Unicode Chart with HTML Entity Codes

Unless a keyboard which supports Unicode is installed, you must use the Unicode chart for Thaana and enter HTML entity codes.

Inputting and Editing Text in an HTML Editor

One option is to use Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression or other Web editor and change the keyboard to the correct script. This will allow you to type content in directly with the appropriate script. However, it is important to verify that the correct encoding is specified in the Web page header.

Another option is to compose the basic text in an international or foreign language text editor or word processor and export the content as an HTML or text file with the appropriate encoding. This file could be opened in another HTML editor such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression, and edited for formatting.

Other Web Tools

For Web tools such as Blogs at Penn State, Facebook, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flicker, and others, users can typically change the keyboard and input text. In most cases, this content will be encoded as Unicode.

PDF and Image Files

In some cases, your best options may be to use PDF files or image files. See the Web Development Tips section for more details.

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Links

About the Script

Coptic Fonts

The following freeware fonts are available for both Windows and Mac:

Coptic Computing and Keyboards

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Last Modified: Thursday, 08-Sep-2016 13:40:04 EDT