Unicoding the special Esperanto letters

Unicode to put the six special letters of Esperanto on to the World Wide Web

Here is a step-by-step method how to use Unicode to cause the six special accented letters of the Esperanto alphabet to be displayed correctly in Webpages by browsers on computer screens, and the seemingly more difficult task of printing them on paper. Five Esperanto letters have a circumflex ( ^ ) above them, and the Ŭ has a breve ( ˘ ), a downwards circle-arc mark.

After forming the opinion that Latin-3 was unsuitable because it displayed strange characters if the viewer had not downloaded specialised type founts, I tried to learn how to display via Unicode. Even after studying many webpages trying to explain Unicode ™, I had found it difficult to display Ĉ, Ĝ, Ĥ, Ĵ, Ŝ, Ŭ, and ĉ, ĝ, ĥ, ĵ, ŝ, ŭ.

If you see question marks (?) on your screen when viewing the following with Netscape -- Ĉĉ Ĝĝ Ĥ ĥ Ĵĵ Ŝŝ Ŭŭ -- the problem might disappear if you click "Back", allow the previous webpage to appear, then click "Forward". If you succeed, Netscape will show Esperanto's accented letters and allow you to print them on paper; Internet Explorer 6.0 often leaves the accents off when printing.

If you have Windows 98 or some other up-to-date operating system, it is possible that Unicode-enabled founts are included, and the 28-letter Esperanto alphabet (there is no Q, W, X, or Y) ought to appear correctly below, in capitals and lower-case:

A, B, C, Ĉ, D, E, F, G, Ĝ, H, Ĥ, I, J, Ĵ,
K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, Ŝ, T, U, Ŭ, V, Z.
a, b, c, ĉ, d, e, f, g, ĝ, h, ĥ, i, j, ĵ,
k, l, m, n, o, p, r, s, ŝ, t, u, ŭ, v, z.

We use an IBM-compatible PC PCU 70, operating with Microsoft® Windows 98© second edition, and we see the special letters in two browsers -- Netscape® Navigator© version 4.08, and Microsoft Internet Explorer© v. 5.50.4134. But only N.N. will print the letters on paper in the equipment at the Esperanto League office, and at my home. At the office we print on a Canon BJC-265SP, and at home I use a Canon BJ-20.

Here are the steps I recommend for putting the Esperanto special letters on to the World Wide Web (WWW):

1. Whether or not you are using a Pagemaker such as FrontPage Express ™, AOLPress ™, etc., or a wordprocessor programme, start to type or paste some of your proposed Esperanto document in your normal way, using one of the usual systems such as the "Ikso" (x) system, or the "Apostrophe" ( ' ) system, or even the "Circumflex" (^) and (~) system. (The "Zamenhofan" (h) system is not recommended for this, because it does not provide any marker for the special u, i.e., the ŭ.)

2. Prepare to carefully save the partially-done work to a logical findable location. First press File/ Save As.

3. On the "Save As" dialogue box at the right of the "Save in" section click the little black triangle, which will cause the Drop-Down Menu to appear, and double-click your main Hard Drive, usually the C-drive. Then double-click My Documents, then Webpages. (If no Webpages folder exists, you will have to first create it.)

4. New starters ought to follow this directory system -- do not just let the computer save the webpage file anywhere it likes. Write this system down in an alphabetical index book, say, under W as "Webpages". To save space, use these words: "Webpage files are in: C: / My Documents / Webpages."

5. Then in the "File name" section, give your document a suitable name, preferably of eight to 16 characters. Unless your equipment does it by default (i.e., automatically), ensure that the HTML directive is added to the filename. If you are using an Apple Macintosh, add dot (full stop) and "html"; if a PC, add dot (full stop) "htm".

6. Finish the typing of the Esperanto webpage.

7. Click the Save icon, or press Ctrl + S, or click File/ Save.

8. If you are using a Pagemaker, and have SAVED your changes right up to the present, now is the time to close it. (The reason is, some Pagemakers cannot handle Unicode, nor for that matter Cascading Style Sheets and other up-to-date systems. Some distort, alter, or delete the commands and the codes, thus destroying your work and wasting a lot of your precious time!)

9. Launch a suitable simple wordprocessing programme, such as Microsoft ® WordPad © (preferred) or Microsoft ® Notepad. Even a complicated wordprocessor will do, but these could make life miserable by constantly suggesting that your spelling and grammar are no good, unless you know how to turn these services off (not recommended unless you are adept at turning these services back on!). In reality you are now going to use a non-English "language" called Hyper-Text Markup Language, i.e., HTML.

10. In the wordprocessor, click File/ Open/ C-drive/ My Documents/ Webpages/ "Pagename"/ (In other words, find the file of the page you recently made, and open it in the wordprocessor you just launched. This will display its "Source Code". This will not look as "pretty" as the version in your Pagemaker or on your Browser, but it is what actually makes your webpage appear!)

11. At the very top, or a line just below the top of this Source Code there ought to be these "tags":


12. Using the mouse or arrow keys, move the blinking cursor to just below the <HEAD> tag.

13. Return to this Webpage here, and use your mouse, either by click, hold down Shift, and click, or by dragging, to highlight the next line:

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

14. Press Ctrl + C (with the " + " that means hold down the Ctrl key and press C) to copy the above line.

15. Returning to your wordprocessor, use Ctrl + V to paste it just under the <HEAD> tag. (This META line, tells up-to-date browsers to "parse" your webpage according to the rules of Unicode, UTF-8 style.)

(If properly highlighted, copied, and pasted as described, this line will not be visible on your finished webpage, but only in your wordprocessor as the Source Code, where the browser will use it to govern interpreting the codes you will insert to produce proper accented letters.)

16. Now you must prepare to begin transforming the "c^", "g^" ... "u~" substitutes into genuine Esperanto letters, by coding each special letter. The first step is to take your cursor to the foot of the Source Code in your wordprocessor. The quickest way is to press Ctrl + End.

17. By using the mouse or the arrow keys, ensure that the blinking cursor is just ABOVE the tag </BODY> which ought to be the secondlast item on the page, displayed possibly like this:


(Note the forward slash "/" in front of each word; the "/" means to close off or end that tag's command.)

18. From this Webpage here use your mouse to highlight the following Unicode code section, with the two lines of hashes from the < to the > , then copy using the quick method of Ctrl + C.

<!-- HIDDEN ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### #####

&#264; for C^,   &#265; for c^,
&#284; for G^,   &#285; for g^,
&#292; for H^,   &#293; for h^,
&#308; for J^,   &#309; for j^,
&#348; for S^,   &#349; for s^,
&#364; for U~,   &#365; for u~.
This table of codes was devised by John Massam,
john.massam@multiline.com.au from a table on a
Professor John Wells webpage, 04 Nov 2000;
END HIDDEN ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### ##### -- >

19. Return to your wordprocessor (i.e., return to the Source Code) and use Ctrl + V to Paste all this near the foot just above the tag that closes the Body, i.e., just above </BODY>, as described above.

20. Save again, this time using a quick method, such as Ctrl + S, or File/ Save, or by clicking the Save icon if there is one.

21. With the mouse, using say the press and drag system, highlight the code &#265; (you must include the semi-colon) for the "c^" or "cx", then press Ctrl + C (to take a copy of it)

22. Press Ctrl + Home (to move your blinking cursor to the the top of the document)

23. In WordPad or Word, press Ctrl + H or click Edit / Replace. (If you use Notepad, click Search / Find. In fact, in Notepad most of the following method might have to be amended -- experienced computer users will quickly adapt.)

24. In the "Find what" section type "cx" (or whatever substitute you used for the special "c"), then press Tab once to move to the "Replace with" section, then press Ctrl + V to paste the Unicode code for lower-case special "c".

25. Click "Find Next". When you find the substitute for the next lower-case special "c", click "Replace".

26. If you find a substitute for a CAPITAL-LETTER special "C", press "Esc" (Escape) and enter the code for the capital C, which is one unit less than for the small "c" -- in the case of C, this would be by changing the 5 to a 4, thus making it &#264; to produce Ĉ.

(It is NOT recommended to click the "Replace All" button, largely because if you did the special Capital Ĉs and lower-case ĉs would all appear as lower-case ĉs, AND, even worse, it would affect every C in the document, including those in the HTML codes, your comments, etc., etc..)

27. Press Ctrl + S (to save the changes done so far).

28. To check if you have successfully inserted proper Esperanto letters, launch your Browser (Netscape Communicator ™ or Internet Explorer ©, for example) and display the webpage you are working on by navigating to "Webpages" and opening it. If the first and second special "ĉ" and/or "Ĉ" have been successfully inserted, spend a few seconds enjoying the sight, then move on.

29. Return to the wordprocessor (which contains your Source Code). By pressing Ctrl + Home, you will be able to continue with the replacement process throughout the rest of the document until there are no more special c's and C's left, and a message appears like "WordPad has finished searching the document" or "Cannot find 'cx'" or "Word has reached the end of the document ..."

30. Press Ctrl + S or click the Save icon or click File/ Save.

31. Then go back to the list of Unicodes by pressing Ctrl + End, and this time select and copy the &#285; for "g^" to produce ĝ, and then press Ctrl + Home.

32. Press Ctrl + H and start work on finding and upgrading any "g^" or "gx", following the rest of the procedure explained above, saving your work at regular intervals, then move on to the next special letter and so on all the way to ŭ.

33. In short webpages it is sometimes safe to leave out the rarely-used ĥ and ĵ on the first run through. If you do take this shortcut, it is more essential than ever to make a final check for any stray missing transformations (please do this at the end without fail), as follows:

34. Press Ctrl + Home, then press Ctrl + H, and insert into the "Find what" section, a plain "^" or "x" or whatever marker was used originally. The purpose is to check if a marker for a stray special letter or two has been missed. If required, insert the code/s through the dialogue box or by hand copying and pasting.

35. Press Ctrl + S (to save your changes).

36. View your finished work in a Browser or Browsers. If you had used a Browser to view the first two transformations, you will have to press Reload or Refresh in order to update. See also multilingual.htm and keyboard.htm. -- John Massam

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Esperanto League of Western Australia (Inc.)
Coded using Microsoft® WordPad© 04 Nov 2000, "multilingual.htm" removed to separate page 06 Nov 00, last modified on 27 Aug 09

Also see
www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/elwa/multilingual.htm (Outdated now)
www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/exunic.htm (Outdated now)