Re: IPA and Unicode

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Sep 17 1998 - 15:45:15 EDT


> >
> > >> "Long-Leg Turned Iota", (see Pullum + Ladusaw, 1996:89);
> >
> > Isn't this a dotless j (not a UCS character)?
> This is a so-called (by Sinologists) "apical vowel", the more front
> unrounded one. It's shape is basically that of a "dotless i", the bottom
> of which descends slightly below the baseline, the head of which curves
> up to the left and then down. The form given in P+L is slightly
> different from versions I've seen printed in China, which are seriffed,
> and actually sit on the baseline.
> In the STEDT Font Reference this is:
> "syllabic alveolar fricative, plain"; at decimal 189

In Unicode, this is encoded at U+027F LATIN SMALL LETTER REVERSED R
WITH FISHHOOK. That was explicitly encoded for the Sinologists
alveolar apical vowel.

> >
> > >> "Right-Tail Turned Iota", (see Pullum + Ladusaw, 1996:90);
> >
> >
> This is another "apical vowel", the more back unrounded one. It is
> basically a small backward "esh".
> In the STEDT Font Reference this is:
> "syllabic retroflex fricative, plain"; at decimal 180

In Unicode, this is encoded at U+0285 LATIN SMALL LETTER SQUAT REVERSED
ESH. That is for the Sinologist's retroflex apical vowel.

> I should like to work with people interested in this problem, to
> assemble a list of characters currently or formerly used by Asian
> linguists for phonetic transcription, to determine exactly which are
> present in the standard and which ought perhaps gain consideration for inclusion.

You really do need to get a copy of the standard, then. Information
about ordering it is available at Or, if
you prefer, you can just go to and enter "Unicode" in a
query to find out all about it.


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