Rotated letter

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Note the leading J of Jacquard in Caslon italic typeface, which was turned for the pound sign £.

In the days of printing with metal type sorts, it was common to rotate letters and digits 180° to create new symbols. This was done for example with the Palaeotype alphabet, the International Phonetic Alphabet, the Fraser script, and for some mathematical symbols. Perhaps the earliest instance of this that is still in use was turned e for schwa.

In the eighteenth-century Caslon metal fonts, the British pound sign (£) was set with a rotated italic uppercase J.[1]

Unicode support[edit]

The following rotated (turned) letters have Unicode codepoints unless otherwise indicated.

Latin[edit]

In this table, parentheses mark letters that stand in for themselves or for another. For instance, a rotated 'b' would be a 'q', and indeed some physical typefaces didn't bother with distinct sorts for those letters, while a rotated 's' would be itself. Long s with a combining dot below, ⟨ſ̣⟩, can stand in for a rotated j.

(En dashes are used to mark small caps that would not be very distinct from the turned lower case letter, though they are possible: turned small cap c is supported, for example: ⟨ᴐ⟩).

The Fraser script creates a number of duplicates of the rotated capitals.

Latin rotated letters
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Rotated minuscule ɐ·ɒ (q) ɔ (p) ə·ǝ ɟ[2] ᵷ·ɓ ɥ (ſ̣) ʞ ɯ (u) (o) (d) (b) ɹ (s) ʇ (n) ʌ ʍ (x) ʎ (z)
Rotated small cap 𝼂 (ʜ) (ɪ) ɾ[2] 𝼐 [a] (ɴ)
Rotated capital Ɔ Ǝ (H) (I) Ꞁ·⅂ [b] (N) (O) Ԁ (S) Ո Ʌ (X) Ꟛ·⅄ (Z)
Fraser (ꓧ) (ꓲ) (ꓠ) (ꓳ) (ꓢ) (ꓫ) 𑾰 (ꓜ)

The Unicode characters ⅁, ⅂, ⅄ are specified as sans-serif. A normal turned Y, ⟨Ꟛ⟩, has been accepted for Unicode 16. Additional small cap forms are found in the literature (e.g. turned ᴀ ʟ ᴜ), but are not supported as of Unicode 15.

Other rotated letters include the digraphs ᴂ and ᴔ. The "rotated" capital Q in Unicode is only turned 90 degrees: ℺.

Greek and Cyrillic[edit]

Many of the few rotated Greek letters are intended for mathematical notation. In this table, an en dash is used to mark Greek and Cyrillic letters that are not distinct from a Latin letter. Reversed L, ⟨⅃⟩, can stand in for a rotated gamma Γ, though Unicode defines it as sans serif.

Greek rotated letters
Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ρ Σ Τ Υ Φ Χ Ψ Ω
Rotated minuscule ƍ ᴈ·϶ (θ) (ο) (χ)
Rotated capital (⅃) (Ζ) (Η) (Θ) (Ι) (Ν) (Ξ) (Ο) ⨿ (Φ) (Χ)
Cyrillic rotated letters
А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю Я
Rotated minuscule (ж) ɛ (и) и̯ (н) (о) ԁ (ф) (х) є ʁ[c]
Rotated capital (⅃) (Ж) Ɛ (И) И̯ (Н) (О) ⨿ Ԁ (Ф) (Х) Һ Є

ƍ is close to the turned form of one variant of lower-case Б.

In some fonts, an allograph of Ʒ displays as turned Σ.

An example of a font that uses turned small-capital Ω for the vowel ⟨ʊ⟩.

In addition, the horseshoe ʊ of the IPA has allographs that are a turned small-capital Ω.

Other[edit]

Other rotated symbols include ɞ (rotated or reversed ʚ), ʖ (rotated ʕ) (rotated ɽ), ɺ (rotated ɼ), the digits and , the insular g: Ꝿ , and the ampersand .

The turned comma or inverted comma () is, as its name suggests, a rotated comma. This symbol is most commonly encountered as an opening single quotation mark. It is also used for the Hawaiian letter ʻokina. In some older British texts, it was used as a superscript ⟨c⟩ to abbreviate for the Scottish name element Mac/Mc, also written as Mac/Mc, thus yielding M‘, as in M‘Culloch.[3]

Spanish uses the rotated punctuation marks ¡ (inverted exclamation mark) and ¿ (inverted question mark).

Reversed letters[edit]

In addition to turned letters, Unicode supports a few reversed (mirror-image) letters such as ɘ, Ƨ ƨ, Ƹ ƹ, ʕ, ᴎ, ᴙ, ꟻ, ⅃ and ꟼ; Cyrillic Ԑ ԑ (reversed З з) and Ꙡ ꙡ (as well as Cyrillic И и and Я я, which are graphically equivalent to reversed Latin N ɴ and R ʀ), superscript ᶟ ᴻ, and the tresillo Ꜫ ꜫ, which historically is a reversed three. Current IPA ɜ is officially a reversed rather than rotated ɛ; the older rotated ᴈ is now deprecated. Lower-case Ƌ is close to a reversed Cyrillic capital Б. Reversed k ɡ ŋ (𝼃 𝼁 𝼇) were added to the extIPA in 2015.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ ⟨ꟺ⟩ displays a number of ways in different typefaces, but officially[citation needed] it is a turned small capital M.
  2. ^ ⟨ꟽ⟩ is actually an inverted M.
  3. ^ ⟨ʁ⟩ is graphically equivalent to rotated Cyrillic я, though Unicode defines the character as an inverted Latin ʀ

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howes, Justin (2000). "Caslon's punches and matrices". Matrix. 20: 1–7.
  2. ^ a b Geoffrey K Pullum; William A Ladusaw. Phonetic symbol guide. doi:10.1017/S0008413100017230. ISBN 9780226685366. S2CID 149152125.[page needed]
  3. ^ Collins, Michael G. "M'Culloch and the Turned Comma" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2012.