Sergei B. Pokrovsky

Russian/English Alphabet Disambiguation


The Civil Cyrillic Alphabet, introduced by Peter the Great, makes many Russian letters look like some Latin ones; this is a nuisance for the programmers: what looks identical on the screen can be quite different in the code; moreover, some letters are identical in one case (T,Т y,у) and different in the other (t,т Y,У). The Western programmers know a similar problem with O/0 and 1/l/I disambiguation.

In a Unicode font the problem is even worse, because the Latin/Cyrillic ambiguity is complicated with the Greek. Still, I've tried to modify a couple of the BDF Unicode fonts by Markus Kuhn which I use on Sparc computers so that I can see the difference and guess which alphabet a given letter belongs to. Actually these are 9x15 and 9x18 fonts in the plain and bold flavors: