Re: IPA and Unicode

From: Martin Heijdra (
Date: Thu Sep 17 1998 - 09:28:16 EDT

In fact, Richard's characters are exactly the ones I once talked about,
characters which are used as extensions (NOT obsolete versions) to IPA, which
is deemed by many Tibeto-Burmese linguists as incomplete.

At that moment, I did collect material of proof of widespread use, official
guidelines, Chinese encyclopedias, their use in Chinese typesetting programs,
and started checking them against Unicode, in order to officially report them;
Ken and Joan send me information on how to do that.

What bogged me down, and what made my job unfinished, is that once I looked
into the Chinese typesetting programs, I did not find only the four or five
symbols widely used, but more a collection of some 100 IPA and non-IPA
phonetical symbols accessible. I started to map those to Unicode, but found
this difficult in many cases, partly intrinsically, partly because the
printing in my samples seemed to be multiinterpretable.

I think I 'm writing this in the hope that Michael Everson will say, hey, send
what you found to me, and I'll take it from there...

Martin Heijdra

Richard Cook wrote:
> 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.
> Best,
> Richard
> --
> _______________________________________
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>*<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
> >Richard S. COOK, Jr. <
> > <
> ><
> ><
> >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>*<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Martin Heijdra
Gest Oriental Library
317 Palmer Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:41 EDT