A number of Pacific languages, including Māori, feature a long-vowel sound.
When correctly typeset, the long-vowel sound is indicated by a horizontal bar positioned above the lengthened vowel or macron.
Prior to desktop publishing and digital typography, the long vowel was often transcribed by repeating the vowel. For example ‘Māori’ would be typeset: ‘Maaori’.
With the move to digital production techniques, commonly-used typefaces were often customised for the purpose of typesetting Māori-language documents. The dieresis mark (or ‘double-dot’) used in German spelling would be replaced with the macron. The keystroke for inserting a dieresis mark could then be used to ‘macronise’ a vowel.
On a Macintosh computer, the keystroke combination for inserting a vowel with a dieresis mark is:
[option]+[u] > ["vowel"]
For this method of displaying macrons to be used on the web, a person would be required to download and install the customised typeface.
Organisations that are unable to customise or purchase typefaces that include the macron traditionally resorted to using the dieresis mark (as this approximates the appearance of a macron). However this method is not recommended by Māori language experts.
In the context of typesetting webpages, the character set is the notation system that the author has used to specify a letter, symbol, number, letter-accent combination, etc.
The aim of a notation system such as Unicode, is to assign a unique code to each character of all known written languages.
To correctly display macronised vowels:
charset) that contains the macronised letterforms.
The character set is specified in the
content-type meta element. This element is contained in the
<head> of your webpage.
<title>Your page title</title>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
Page content goes here...
You can use the HTML text column of the table below to check if the web browser you are using supports the display of macrons.
The HTML text character should match the image shown in the Sample glyph column.
- [apple]+[C](Mac) or,
The display of macronised vowel the HTML text column will varying; depending on the combination of web browser and computer operating system used to view this webpage.
In some cases the character may display as a question mark or with the macron alongside, rather than above, the vowel (as is the case for Mac Classic web browsers).
One consideration when using macronised text on the web is the potential impact on search performance.
The issue is two-fold:
For searches within a website, a search tool may enable character-substitution: matching macronised and non-macronised versions of the same word. In such cases a search for a macronised word would match the non-macronised spelling and vice-versa.
ā == a
m-a-o-r-i == m-ā-o-r-i
An alternative is to replace macronised characters with the non-macronised equivalent when building the search index. (This will depend on the search tool used.)