Information needed about typographic symbols

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sun May 30 10:10:01 CDT 1999

Some years ago I prepared a font (available at that contained the symbols for
female and male, along with annual, biennial, and perennial, as well as the
symbols that I was told were used by entomologists for hermaphrodite and

I have since become more familiar with the Unicode standard for character
encoding (currently implemented, for example, in Microsoft Word 97 by
"Insert | Symbol"). This has the potential of allowing a single font to
include all the symbols we routinely use *in addition to* a full alphabet
of whatever national language we use. But all those symbols need to be
included in the standard.

Female and male are already present in the standard (the symbols are even
accessible in the newest Times New Roman and Arial -- free from -- although they are ugly), as are
annual (listed as SUN), perennial (JUPITER), and virgin (MERCURY). I will
be working with some Unicode folks to propose biennial (a circle with two
dots aligned horizontally in the middle) and hermaphrodite (a combination
of male and female sharing the same circle).

What I need from you is literature citations of publications that use these
symbols, and scanned examples if convenient. Also suggestions for other
symbols that should be included. If a symbol makes it into Unicode, it will
have the same position in every font that includes it, but if not, it is
relegated to the "private use area", where the same code could represent
different symbols in different fonts.

Please email your citations and suggestions directly, and repost this to
other lists that might be appropriate (I'm also working on the geological
symbols for Cambrian, Pennsylvanian, and Triassic).

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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