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Today, in some official document I received, an enumeration (of items to address) had each line prepended with ㈰, ㈪, ㈫ etc.

From context, it is reasonably easy to guess that this might be an equivalent to numbers (①, ② etc) or roman letters (a, b, c etc).

I am familiar with the use of half-width katakana (ア, エ, イ etc) for that purpose, but it is the first time I see days of the week used that way (and surprisingly, there seems to be a set of dedicated characters for it).

Is there a name for this type of enumeration prefix, or at least for the characters themselves?

Do they have any special meaning, beside that of a regular enumeration (first item, second item etc)?

Is it standard to start with ㈰ and go from there? Is there anything after (土)?

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変ですねえ・・・「日、月、火・・」って、そんなふうに使わないと思うんですけど。。。「日曜日は~~で、月曜日は~~で、火曜日は~~です。」っていう意味では? –  Choko Jul 18 at 7:55
@Choko: 最初みてそうだと思ったけど意味によると、ただのリストだと見なすようになってた。日は全部ちょうど並べるし... でもやっぱり、日々に案内だとかもしれないね。 –  Dave Jul 18 at 8:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Welcome to the wonderful world of character encodings. :)

If you're unfamiliar with them (things like "ASCII", "UTF-8", "Unicode", all that jazz), the fast and short of it is: what some computers see as being a ー, others see as '. If two computers aren't using the same encoding, text can get jumbled when moving information from one to the other. (This is a heavy simplification, but this is a Japanese-learning site, not a technical site. :P)

I don't know the technical details of your situation (what type of computer the author of the document uses, what font was used, what computer you use, what fonts are available to you, etc.), but basically what you see as ①, ②, etc. appears in other fonts and encodings as ㈰, ㈪, etc. in others. More specifically, according to this source, older Mac systems (OS9x and below?) have this issue, and I'd imagine that other systems might have the same issue depending on fonts and encodings used.

In summary, this is a technical problem, not a special feature of Japanese. If you're more technically comfortable, play around with encoding settings to see what you come up with.

Lots more details and whatnot can be found here. Including the answer to your last question. Is there anything after ㈯? Yes: ㉀. ;)

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Yes, I am very aware of encoding issues and how they work... Somehow did not even occur to me that this might be an encoding issue (all other characters in the document looked fine, and the 日, 月 etc. characters kinda made some sense). Guess I could have found the answer myself, had it been possible to google these characters. Thanks for clearing that up! –  Dave Jul 19 at 12:37

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