Hook (diacritic)

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◌̡ ◌̢ ◌˞
In Unicode

In typesetting, the hook or tail is a diacritic mark attached to letters in many alphabets. In shape it looks like a hook and it can be attached below as a descender, on top as an ascender and sometimes to the side. The orientation of the hook can change its meaning: when it is below and curls to the left it can be interpreted as a palatal hook, and when it curls to the right is called hook tail or tail and can be interpreted as a retroflex hook. It should not be mistaken with the hook above, a diacritical mark used in Vietnamese, or the rhotic hook, used in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Letter ⟨Z⟩ with tophook - became letter ⟨⟩.

Letter ⟨X⟩ with two high hooks - became letter ⟨⟩.

Different types of hook diacritics

Letters with hook[edit]

It could be argued that the hook was used to derive the letter ⟨J⟩ from the letter ⟨I⟩, or the letter Eng ⟨ŋ⟩ from the letter ⟨N⟩. However, these letters are usually not identified as being formed with the hook.

Most letters with hook are used in the International Phonetic Alphabet, and many languages use them (along with capitals) representing the same sounds.

The hook often attaches to the top part of the letter, curling to the left or to the right, finishing the ascender if present. It may then be referred to as a crook, in some languages like French[1] more commonly than in English that is less successful in mitigating the semantic overload of the hook term.

If the hook attaches to the bottom part of the letter, it is often called a palatal hook if it curls to the left, or a retroflex hook if it curls to the right.

Note that the "fishhook r", ɾ, is shaped like a fishhook. It does not have a hook diacritic despite its misleading Unicode name "R with fishhook".

Latin alphabet
Letters Name Hook position
A with retroflex hook bottom
Script a or alpha with retroflex hook bottom
Ɓ ɓ 𐞅 B with hook[2] top
B with flourish left
B with palatal hook bottom
Ƈ ƈ C with hook top
C with palatal hook bottom
𝼝 C with retroflex hook[3] bottom
Ɗ ɗ 𐞌 D with hook[2] top
Ɖ ɖ 𐞋 African d or d with tail[4] bottom
𐞍 D with hook and tail[2] top and bottom
D with palatal hook bottom
E with flourish left
E with retroflex hook bottom
ɚ Schwa with hook right
Schwa with retroflex hook bottom
Open e or epsilon with retroflex hook bottom
ɝ Reversed open e or epsilon with hook right
Reversed open e or epsilon with retroflex hook bottom
Ƒ ƒ F with hook bottom
F with palatal hook bottom
Ɠ ɠ 𐞓 G with hook[2] top
ʛ 𐞔 Small capital g with hook[2] top
G with palatal hook right
Script g with crossed-tail bottom
ɦ ʱ H with hook top
H with palatal hook bottom right
ɧ 𐞗 Heng with hook[4] top
ʮ Turned h with fishhook top
ʯ Turned h with fishhook and tail top and bottom
I with retroflex hook bottom
ʝ J with crossed-tail bottom
ʄ 𐞘 Dotless j with stroke and hook[2] top
Ƙ ƙ K with hook top
K with palatal hook bottom
𝼑 L with fishhook[5] right
L with palatal hook bottom
ɭ L with retroflex hook bottom
𐞝 L with retroflex hook and belt[6][7] bottom
ɱ M with hook bottom
M with palatal hook bottom
M with crossed-tail bottom
Ɲ ɲ N with left hook bottom left
N with palatal hook bottom right
ɳ N with retroflex hook bottom right
N with crossed-tail bottom
Eng with crossed-tail bottom
𝼔 Eng with palatal hook[5] bottom
𝼛 O with retroflex hook[5] bottom
Open o with retroflex hook bottom
Ƥ ƥ P with hook top
P with palatal hook right
P with flourish left middle
P with squirrel tail left top
ʠ Q with hook top
Ɋ ɋ Small q with hook tail bottom
ɽ 𐞨 R with tail[4] bottom left
R with palatal hook bottom
ɻ ʵ Turned r with hook bottom
𝼕 Turned r with palatal hook[5] bottom
Turned r with tail top
R with crossed-tail bottom
Double r with crossed-tail bottom
S with palatal hook bottom right
ʂ S with retroflex hook bottom left
ȿ S with swash tail bottom right
Esh with palatal hook right
Esh with retroflex hook bottom
Ƭ ƭ T with hook top
ƫ ƫ T with palatal hook bottom
Ʈ ʈ 𐞯 T with retroflex hook[4] bottom
U with left hook top left
U with retroflex hook bottom
V with palatal hook bottom
𐞰 V with right hook[8][4] top
Ʋ ʋ Script v or v with hook top
W with hook top right
X with palatal hook bottom right
Ƴ ƴ Y with hook top right
Ȥ ȥ Z with hook bottom
Z with palatal hook bottom
ʐ Z with retroflex hook bottom
Z with top hook top right or top left
Ɀ ɀ Z with swash tail bottom
𝼘 Ezh with palatal hook[5] right
Ezh with retroflex hook bottom
ƺ Ezh with tail bottom
𝼅 𐞟 Lezh with retroflex hook[7] bottom
𝼊 𐞹 Retroflex click with retroflex hook[9][2] bottom
Cuatrillo tail bottom
Cuatrillo hook bottom
Cyrillic alphabet
Ӻ ӻ Ghe with stroke and hook bottom
Ҋ ҋ Short i with tail bottom right
Ӄ ӄ Ka with hook bottom right
Ԓ ԓ El with hook bottom right
Ӆ ӆ El with tail bottom right
Ӎ ӎ Em with tail bottom right
Ӈ ӈ En with hook bottom right
Ԩ ԩ En with left hook bottom left
Ӊ ӊ En with tail bottom right
Ӽ ӽ Ha with hook bottom right


Unicode has the combining diacritics U+0321  ̡  COMBINING PALATALIZED HOOK BELOW and U+0322  ̢  COMBINING RETROFLEX HOOK BELOW but these are not recommended to be used with letters,[where?] and should be used to illustrate the hooks themselves. Instead Unicode recommends the use of characters that already include the hook.[citation needed]

The U+02DE ˞ MODIFIER LETTER RHOTIC HOOK is used to mark an r-colored vowel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As in the non-standard French translation of the UCS ListeNoms.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Miller, Kirk; Ashby, Michael (2020-11-08). "L2/20-253R: Unicode request for IPA modifier letters (b), non-pulmonic" (PDF).
  3. ^ Miller, Kirk (2021-01-11). "L2/21-041: Unicode request for additional para-IPA letters" (PDF).
  4. ^ a b c d e Miller, Kirk; Ashby, Michael (2020-11-08). "L2/20-252R: Unicode request for IPA modifier-letters (a), pulmonic" (PDF).
  5. ^ a b c d e Miller, Kirk (2020-07-11). "L2/20-125R: Unicode request for expected IPA retroflex letters and similar letters with hooks" (PDF).
  6. ^ Priest, Lorna (2008-07-28). "L2/08-182: Proposal to Encode Additional Latin and Cyrillic Characters" (PDF).
  7. ^ a b Miller, Kirk; Ball, Martin (2020-07-11). "L2/20-116R: Expansion of the extIPA and VoQS" (PDF).
  8. ^ Priest, Lorna; Constable, Peter (2005-08-09), N2945: Proposal to Encode Additional Latin Phonetic and Orthographic Characters (PDF)
  9. ^ Miller, Kirk; Sands, Bonny (2020-07-10). "L2/20-115R: Unicode request for additional phonetic click letters" (PDF).