# How to type a proper Hawaiʻian ʻokina

I'm writing a paper on Hawaiian, and I wonder what the proper way of writing an ʻokina is in LaTeX. I believe it is U+02BB in Unicode (correct me if I'm wrong). For now, I have been replacing it by typing a grave accent  in LaTeX, but I believe it yields U+2018, so it's similar, but not the same glyph.

Thanks!

• it depends on the font you are using, in classic tex the fonts only have 127 or 256 characters so do not have a separate glyph for this in the common text fonts if you use lulatex or xelatex you could type U+02BB directly if your opentype font has the character Apr 2, 2018 at 23:18

This could be font-dependent. With pdflatex one can scale a backquote and raise it:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage{newunicodechar,graphicx}
%\usepackage{libertine}

\DeclareRobustCommand{\okina}{%
\raisebox{\dimexpr\fontcharht\fontA-\height}{%
\scalebox{0.8}{}%
}%
}
\newunicodechar{ʻ}{\okina}

\begin{document}

ʻ\=Olelo Hawaiʻi''

\end{document}


The same with libertine enabled:

Compare with XeLaTeX and Libertinus Serif

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{fontspec}

\setmainfont{Libertinus Serif}

\begin{document}

ʻ\=Olelo Hawaiʻi''

\end{document}
`

• This works nicely. Since the Unicode description is Modifier letter turned comma, I originally tried to turn a comma and raise it, but I failed. Would this approach yield the same result if successful? Apr 2, 2018 at 23:48
• @Lundgren8 In most fonts a comma is a rotated version of the left quote. Apr 2, 2018 at 23:54
• It's a good question, though, for the case when the comma isn't a rotated left quote; cf. Wikipedia, "Additionally, the left single quotation mark is represented in some typefaces by a mirrored "9" glyph, rather than a "6", which is unsuitable for the ʻokina." Feb 19, 2020 at 19:04
• @AnnieCarter Nothing would be better than a properly designed glyph. Different fonts would need different treatment. Feb 19, 2020 at 20:36