hunting high and low for a Unicode font that has the labiodental flap. Can you help?
The answer was easy: the symbol she needs is already available in the SIL fonts she uses regularly. The problem is knowing where to find it among the thousands of characters in the fonts. And the place to find it is at Unicode number 2C71.
The voiced labiodental flap symbol is the newest letter to be added to the IPA chart inventory, though it has now been with us for several years. It was the topic of one of the very first entries in this blog (25 March 2006), where I reported that it had been added to the widely-used SIL phonetic fonts, Charis SIL and Doulos SIL. The last time we mentioned it was two years ago (blog, 16 April 2008).
It was adopted by the IPA too late to make it to the most recent printed Unicode standard, 5.0. However it was added for the Unicode 5.1 revision, and you’ll find it in the current on-line Unicode charts.
So, briefly, here’s what you need to know: the labiodental flap symbol is at U+2C71 LATIN SMALL LETTER V WITH RIGHT HOOK. It is included in the current versions of the SIL fonts Charis, Charis Compact, Doulos and Doulos Compact, and also in the font Code 2000. However, it is not found in the Microsoft fonts routinely supplied with new PCs, nor in Lucida Grande. So PC users will need to download and install specialist fonts. I imagine Mac users will too.
Tiresomely, Unicode did not add it to one of the blocks where phonetic symbols are usually found (IPA Extensions, U+0250–U+02AF; Phonetic Extensions, U+1D00–U+1DBF). Instead, it is in a small block called Latin Extended-C (U+2C60–U+2C7F), nestling unobtrusively between Glagolitic and Coptic. Within that block it lies among the “miscellaneous additions” located between “Additions for Uighur” and “Claudian letters” (Latin letters invented by the emperor Claudius but soon dropped). It’s not surprising that people say it’s hard to find.
If your browser settings are favourable and you have a suitable font, you may be able to see the symbol here: ⱱ, or in a larger size ⱱ.