Sinological phonetic characters (was: Going Off Line?)

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Sep 30 1997 - 13:27:00 EDT

Martin Heijdra suggested:

> If people are going to discuss IPA (whether online or offline), I wonder
> whether some of the extra symbols used by the Chinese for many of their
> minority languages will be included. Apparently, they are not part of the
> official IPA (there is a difference of opinion on whether they are separate
> sounds), but all Chinese linguists use them and they are part of the major
> typesetting systems used in China such as Fangzheng. So in practice they
> are encoded.
> (example: n or d with reversed curl, in a way similar to existing c with
> curl.)

The IPA Extensions block (U+0250..U+02AF) is mostly IPA, but is not limited
to IPA.

Some of the non-IPA phonetic symbols used in the Sinological tradition
are already encoded. For example, the so-called apical vowels.

U+0285 LATIN SMALL LETTER SQAUT REVERSED ESH (for apical retroflex vowel)

These have alternative representations in IPA, but are widely used in
phonological works devoted to Chinese.

Other such symbols specific to the Sinological tradition, as the n or d with
curl, should be proposed for addition to the standard in the normal manner
using the Proposal Summary Form (WG2 1502R).

--Ken Whistler

> Martin Heijdra
> Gest Oriental Library, Princeton University

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