Marco Cimarosti <marco.cimarosti@...> wrote:

> Nicholas Bodley wrote:
>> My father's first language was Russian, and his neat English
>> handwriting used overscores for [m] and [n]. [...]
>> After he passed on, I later noticed that (iirc) Bulgarian and
>> (definitely) Serbian script (even typeset text?) uses the
>> overscore for (m), at least

> Actualy, handwritten Cyrillic uses overscores over <т> (t) and <п> (p),
> which look identical to Latin handwritten <m> and <n>, respectively.

Actually, this is wrong. I'm sure it's better to distinguish between
languages (and perhaps countries) rather then just scripts when
talking about handwritten text. Handwriting traditions vary. Nicholas
was talking about Russian handwriting of his father.

In Russian handwriting, you may use overscore above "т" (t) and
underscore below "ш" (sh). You *may*. Or you *may not*. That depends
on your ability to write correct letters. If the "t" looks very
similar to "sh" some people prefer to write those strokes.

I haven't seen anyone underlining "и" (i) or overlining "п" (p).

> The overscores are functional to distinguish these two letters from
> <ш> (sh) and <и> (i), which look just the same to the two above,
> when handwritten.

Not necessarily. If your handwriting allows you to see the difference,
there's no point in adding strokes.

> In Latin script, a similar confusion may arise between <m> and <w> and
> between <n> and <u>, and that's probably why your father borrowed the
> overscores from his Cyrillic hand.

Similarly: from his Russian hand(writing).

Alexander Savenkov http://www.xmlhack.ru/
savenkov@... http://www.xmlhack.ru/authors/croll/