Looking for correct character: ordinal, sort-of

nina's picture

Hello all,

I'm currently typesetting a (German-language) book related to (local) history, and have come across a source (original text is in German, published in Switzerland in 1798) that lists a few statements. Interestingly, the ordinal numbers don't use periods as they would in German today («1.», etc.), but some sort of ordinal-o-type character. In my direct text source that cites this text, degree signs were used, but I doubt those are correct.

I don't have access to the original source. Does anyone happen to know what sort of symbol would historically have been used for this? Maybe I should use/make some sort of superscript lowercase "oh"?

Here's how it looks currently, with degree signs:

Thanks for any input!

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Liebe Nina,

the little raised o (and a) is in every decent text font. On my German keybord I get it via alt-J
The use of the ° sign for this is a frequent poor-mens workaround, to be avoided whenever possible.

Grüße Sie herzlich nach Basel!

Nick Job's picture

You'll find that a lot of fonts have these two ordinals underlined, which maybe why /degree/ was resorted to. A typeface worth its salt will include at the very least a limited range of ordinals abdehilmnorst (or similar) which are not underlined. Some fonts will give you all 26 latin superiors, some will even give you them in upper case also.


riccard0's picture

Here in Italy, where ordinal indicators are used somewhat often (surely more often than degree signs), either you have access to a character palette or the only way to type something vaguely similar is using °. Not that the layman could even know (or care) it isn't a ordinal indicator. After all, it's right there on the keyboard.
The worst case happens when it's used in place of the feminine ordinal indicator too.

nina's picture

Ahhh, it's the good old ordmasculine! Thank you. I had only associated that with Spanish, Italian and the like for some reason.

(Wieder was gelernt! Und beste Grüße zurück nach Pegau.)

riccard0's picture

I had only associated that with Spanish, Italian and the like

Probably in this case the author borrowed from Latin (the like ;-)

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