Fix it with eyes, Unicode edition

Proposal to revise the glyph of CYRILLIC LETTER MULTIOCULAR O:

Doc Type: Working Group Document
Title: Proposal to revise the glyph of CYRILLIC LETTER MULTIOCULAR O
Source: Michael Everson
Status: Individual Contribution
Action: For consideration by JTC1/SC2/WG2 and UTC
Date: 2022-01-09
Refer to: N3194R (L2/07-003R)

This document requests the replacement of the glyph of U+A66E CYRILLIC LETTER MULTIOCULAR O. A tweet by Étienne FD @etiennefd brought to my attention an old error on my part. Taken from his tweet:

The multiocular O is a rare form of the Cyrillic letter О. How rare?

Rare enough to occur in a single phrase, in a single text written in an extinct language, Old Church Slavonic.

The text is a copy of the Book of Psalms, written around 1429 and kept in Russia.

The image in Figure 42 of N3194R which served as evidence for the encoding of the character was not a very good scan from Karsky 1979; that image is given again in Figure 1 below. Better images are shown in Figures 2 and 3. Essentially the glyph that I drew had seven eyes, but the source character has ten. (No, I don't know why I drew seven. Perhaps I miscounted what was in Karsky's reproduction.) The following shows the change being requested.

Karsky, Yefim Fyodorovich (Карский, Е. Ф.). 1979. Славянская кирилловская палеография. Москва: Наука. (Reprint of 1928 edition, Ленинград: Издательство академии наук СССР).

Figure 1. Sample from Карский 1979, showing MULTIOCULAR O in the phrase серафими многоꙮчитїй (abbreviated мн҄оꙮчитїй) 'many-eyed seraphim'.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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14 Responses:

  1. 2

    I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more eyes.

  2. Rezmason says:

    Title: Sixth revision the glyph of CYRILLIC LETTER MULTIOCULAR O
    Date: 2037-04-04

    As discussed previously, we intermittently re-scan the 1429 Book of Psalms as our image capture technologies incrementally improve. At last count, the "multiocular O" consisted of twelve "main" eyes, eighteen "carbuncles" and three "nystagmuses" at viewing angles harmonic with log(φ ⅋ ѭ ) / log(ψ), with higher carbuncle series conjectured (now confirmed) at greater levels of magnification.

    At the time of writing, we can state without doubt that the overall number of detected annulli exceeds the conventional maximum number of elements in a rendered compound vector path, not to mention the open problem of representing the metrics of a glyph with noninteger typonomy.

    As experimentally proven in Redmond four years ago— may god have mercy on their souls— if Unicode fails to adequately encode this glyph for more than two consecutive editions, it will all completely unravel. The committee has waited patiently for years to hear alternatives to the Multiocular Glyph Working Group's "network type server" proposal, but the writing seems to be proverbially on the wall. Industry partners are prepared to roll out URL metadata codepoints within the year.

    Do Not Be Afraid.

    • 4

      What if it's not that scanning technology is improving but that the book is growing more eyes?

      Also, am I the only one who can't help reading the name of the monastery where the book resides as "Trinity Larva"? 🐛🐛🐛

  3. Frandroid says:

    I would ask how a letter that only got used once, from a dead language, got accepted into Unicode, but one look at it and you know everyone would wave requirements because they know it'll be useful to draw angel ascii art with biblical accuracy...

  4. James C. says:

    Once again, your selection of music for this post is ideal. And appropriate in that it can only be that one track.

  5. Peter Drake says:

    No Shoggoth tag?

  6. Jeff Bell says:

    The Black Beast of Aaaarghh had at least 22 eyes, until the animator died.

  7. Nelson says:

    There's a fun description of this character in a Metafilter comment republished on Languagehat.

  8. Billg says:

    "Embed image" doesn't work; linked image is relevant.

  9. 2

    You’re all very welcome.

  • Previously