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Appearance of comma (upper row) and cedilla (lower row) in the Times New Roman font. Note that the cedilla is placed higher than the comma.

S-comma (majuscule: Ș, minuscule: ș) is a letter which is part of the Romanian alphabet, used to represent the sound /ʃ/, the voiceless postalveolar fricative (like sh in shoe).

History[change | change source]

S "half moon" proposed as a letter in the Buda Lexicon.
S-cedilla, T-cedilla and a cedilla illustrated with a comma in Ortografia limbei române published by the Romanian Academy in 1895.

The letter was proposed in the Buda Lexicon, a book published in 1825, which included two texts by Petru Maior, Orthographia romana sive latino-valachica una cum clavi and Dialogu pentru inceputul linbei române, introducing ș for /ʃ/ and ț for /ts/.[1]

Unicode support[change | change source]

S-comma was not initially supported in early Unicode versions, nor in the predecessors like ISO/IEC 8859-2 and Windows-1250. Instead, Ş (S-cedilla), a character available since Unicode 1.1.0 (1993), was used for digital texts written in Romanian. In some contexts, like with low-resolution screens and printouts, the visual distinction between ș and ş is minimal. In 1999, at the request of the Romanian Standardization Association[source?], S-comma was introduced in Unicode 3.0. Nevertheless, encoding for the S-comma was not supported in retail versions of Microsoft Windows XP, but a later European Union Expansion Font Update provided the feature. While digital accessibility to S-comma has since improved, both characters continue to be used interchangeably in various contexts like publishing.

The letter is part of Unicode's Latin Extended-B range, under "Additions for Romanian", titled as "Latin capital letter S with comma below" (U+0218) and "Latin small letter s with comma below" (U+0219).[2] In HTML, these can be encoded by Ș and ș, respectively.

Use of the comma with the letter S[change | change source]

Diacritics in Latin & Greek
acute( ´ )
double acute( ˝ )
grave( ` )
double grave(  ̏ )
circumflex( ˆ )
caron, háček( ˇ )
breve( ˘ )
inverted breve(   ̑  )
cedilla( ¸ )
diaeresis, umlaut( ¨ )
dot( · )
palatal hook(   ̡ )
retroflex hook(   ̢ )
hook above, dấu hỏi(  ̉ )
horn(  ̛ )
iota subscript(  ͅ )
macron( ˉ )
ogonek, nosinė( ˛ )
perispomene(  ͂ )
overring( ˚ )
underring( ˳ )
rough breathing( )
smooth breathing( ᾿ )
Marks sometimes used as diacritics
apostrophe( )
bar( ◌̸ )
colon( : )
comma( , )
period( . )
hyphen( ˗ )
prime( )
tilde( ~ )
Diacritical marks in other scripts
Arabic diacritics
Early Cyrillic diacritics
kamora(  ҄ )
pokrytie(  ҇ )
titlo(  ҃ )
Gurmukhī diacritics
Hebrew diacritics
Indic diacritics
anusvara( )
chandrabindu( )
nukta( )
virama( )
visarga( )
IPA diacritics
Japanese diacritics
dakuten( )
handakuten( )
Khmer diacritics
Syriac diacritics
Thai diacritics
Dotted circle
Punctuation marks
Logic symbols

Character encoding[change | change source]


References[change | change source]

  1. Marinella Lörinczi Angioni, "Coscienza nazionale romanza e ortografia: il romeno tra alfabeto cirillico e alfabeto latino ", La Ricerca Folklorica, No. 5, La scrittura: funzioni e ideologie. (Apr., 1982), pp. 75–85.
  2. Unicode code charts. Latin Extended-B: Range 0180–024F