Modifier letter apostrophe

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The modifier letter apostrophe (ʼ) is a letter in Unicode encoding, used primarily for various glottal sounds.


The letter apostrophe is encoded at U+02BC ʼ MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE (HTML ʼ).

In Unicode code charts it looks identical to the U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK,[1] but this is not true for all fonts. The primary difference between the letter apostrophe and U+2019 is that the letter apostrophe U+02BC has the Unicode General Category "Letter, modifier" (Lm), while U+2019 has the category "Punctuation, Final quote" (Pf).

In early Unicode (versions 1.0[2]–2.1.9[3]) U+02BC was preferred for the punctuation apostrophe in English. Since version 3.0.0,[4][5] however, U+2019 is preferred, because it is defined as a punctuation mark. The behavior of Unicode letters and punctuation marks differs, causing complications if punctuation code points are used for letters or vice versa.


In the International Phonetic Alphabet, it is used to express ejective consonants, such as [kʼ], [tʼ].

It denotes a glottal stop [ʔ] in orthographies of many languages, such as Nenets (in Cyrillic script) and the artificial Klingon language.

In the Ukrainian alphabet, U+02BC is used for the semi-letter 'apostrophe', which plays a role similar to Russian ⟨ъ⟩, for example in internationalized domain names where a punctuation mark would be disallowed.[6]

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