A longstanding mystery has just been solved for me. Every time I look down a list of unicode characters (e.g., this one), I see something like “Latin Capital Letter S With Caron” (next to Š) and think “That’s not a ‘caron,’ that’s a haček.” I always meant to look it up and find out where they got “caron,” but never got around to it. Now John Cowan‘s post on the stability of standard names has brought to my attention Unicode Technical Note #27: Known Anomalies in Unicode Character Names, which is almost as much fun as a collection of newspaper corrections:
In this document we list all Unicode character names with known clerical errors in the spelling of their names at the time of its writing. In addition, we have compiled information on many misnamed characters, misleading character names, and characters with other known problems with their names.
Because Unicode Standard is a character encoding standard and not the Universal Encyclopedia of Writing Systems and Character Identity, the stability and uniqueness of published character names is far more important than the correctness of the name… The authors therefore intend this Technical Note to serve as a convenient summary of the information about character name anomalies in the Unicode Standard at the time of its writing.
And alongside embarrassments like “LATIN SMALL LETTER OI” (“should have been called letter GHA”) and “TAMIL SIGN VISARGA” (“This character is the aaytham”), we find:
The “caron” should have been called hacek and combining hacek. The term “caron” is suspected by some to be an invention of some early standards body, but it has also been claimed by others to have been in use at Linotype before the days of digital typography. Its true origin may be lost in the mists of time.
How wonderful! Does anybody know anything more about this mysterious “word”?