A new Russian ruble sign as just been approved by the Central Bank of Russia. The sign is a traditional Cyrillic R (Р) with a crossed line below. You can also see other recent design candidates if interested.

The next discussion of course will be where in Unicode this will appear. Some have proposed that it will be U+0554, but that is the Armenian letter keh (Ք). Although the appearance is similar, there is a discussion online already of whether this is the best idea to transmit Armenian /k/ as a currency symbol.

Based on previous patterns, I predict that a new code will be assigned, perhaps in the Currency block (U+20BB?) or possibly the Cyrillic block. If it’s in the Cyrillic block, it would a new addition to the recent Indian Rupee Symbol (U+20B9/₹) and Turkish Lira sign (U+20BA/₺).

From a sociolinguistic perspective, I am finding the creation of new currency symbols interesting, especially for currencies which have existed as long as the ruble and the rupee. To me this is a clear extension of idea that a language doesn’t socially exist as a “real language” unless it has its own spelling/writing system.

Apparently it’s now equally important for governments to establish a unique currency sign to be counted as a “major” currency.

Postscript: 16 Dec 2013

The debate about whether the Russian Ruble sign should be in the Armenian block has reached the Armenpress news wire. Many are recommending no.

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