Re: Synonyms in Unicode Terminology

Date: Thu Jan 28 1999 - 10:54:42 EST

       RM>Let me elaborate, then on my perspective. An "alphabet" is
       a collection of symbols. It includes only the "phonological"
       or "syllabic" units and not the punctuation, quoting
       conventions, document formatting conventions, and so forth. An
       alphabet is a static collection of symbols, which typically
       represent some form of segmentation of a natural language. A
       "writing system" includes the symbols of the alphabet, but in
       addition includes rules about their use, some set of
       punctuation symbols with rules for their use, and so forth...

       I see the value of Rick's use of "alphabet" to exclude
       punctuation, etc. Writing system, then, would include
       everything used for the given language, including punctuation,
       etc. This makes sense in terms of Daniels typology since it
       does not address at all punctuation, etc. but only those
       elements that represent phonological units.

       I think it better, however, not to confuse alphabet with
       syllabary, or with other types. It seems to me that Rick's
       statement, "It includes only the 'phonological' or 'syllabic'
       units..." suggests the need for a term that refers to the
       collection of symbols in a writing system that represent purely
       phonological information. I don't think "alphabet" is the best
       choice for this since this is used to mean a particular type of
       writing system or script. Perhaps "orthography" would be
       appropriate for this purpose.

       Peter Constable
       Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL

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