Re: IPA and Unicode

From: Richard Cook (
Date: Wed Sep 16 1998 - 23:28:05 EDT

Michael Everson wrote:
> Ar 10:46 -0700 1998-09-16, scríobh Kenneth Whistler:
> >Unicode allows for use of whatever characters are encoded in it,
> >whether they be those for current IPA practice or for various
> >traditional transcriptions. Numerous characters were added to
> >the collection of regular Latin letters and IPA letters to
> >try to cover Americanist, Africanist, or Sinologist traditions,
> >for example. Some of these are still in current use, and others
> >represent obsolete practice.
> The number of obsolete "phonetic letterforms" is fairly large, depending on
> what language the letters are used for. There is probably a good case for
> adding an archaic phonetic character block -- maybe even in Plane 1 -- for
> some of these. The "bucket" for this -- unlike the bucket for IPA or
> Uralicist phonetics -- should be slowly and comprehensively assembled.
> >My suggestion is that you work with the Unicode Technical Committee
> >to develop a proposal for the addition of additional non-IPA
> >phonetic symbols in current use (or obsolete, for that matter)
> >for addition to the Unicode Standard.
> I agree with Ken. I'd be interested to compare your obsolete characters
> with some that I have been collecting.

Have you taken a look at the font on the STEDT website?

This version of the font contains most if not all of the chars. in
question, and includes also others about which I have no questions,
either because they are of more limited use (as Matisoff's "allofam"
symbols), or of unquestioned use.

The bitmaps of the font version currently on the website are
unfortuantely ever so slightly incomplete, as you may notice in the
"Font Reference" document (which details character values and
codepoints). But the TT forms are all there in various styles.

I'd be interested to hear opinions on any of the characters/diacritics
in the STEDT font.

Since I do not have handy access to a copy of the Unicode Standard, I am
somewhat hampered in making the comparisons myself. I've seen the order
form on the website, and certainly have been planning to get a copy for
myself for quite some time now. I'm a Sinologist, especially interested
in Unihan. Is the Standard available in book stores? in electronic form,
on CD?

BTW, since some list members may be curious, STEDT (the Sino-Tibetan
Etymological Dictionary Thesaurus Project at UC Berkeley) is a database
project assembling lexical data for Sino-Tibetan languages. We have at
present approximately 350,000 records for roughly 300 languages, the
majority of which are Tibeto-Burman. The data has been input over the
last ten years, and is being employed for comparative historical purposes.


>Richard S. COOK, Jr.                 <
>  <

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