Re: orthographic characters for glottal stop

Date: Thu Sep 09 1999 - 10:09:09 EDT

       ME>Aye, there's the rub. It's easy for us to say, well, 7 is
       really just a glottal stop. But we're talking natural
       orthographies here. User sensitivities, legibility,
       recognizability, etc. do have to be taken into account. (The
       case is stronger for ? being a glyph variant of the glottal
       stop.) At the end of the day, 7 is _their_ letter, not ours.

       Definitely a valid concern.

>The linguist knows this; the schoolchildren do not, and if
       they've been using 7 for years and years.... I mean, what if
       they regularly write DIGIT 7 with a stroke through it and
       LETTER 7 without? (I've no idea, it's just a thought.) The IPA
       glottal stop isn't the most beautiful of creatures.

       Indeed, it is not. And I was very surprised to learn that this
       very glyph has been adopted for use together with Devanagari
       script for some languages of Nepal. I would never have thought
       to propose such a shape - it just doesn't seem to me to fit
       with the design of that script. Perhaps, though, to the native
       users it seems perfectly natural.

>Agreed that they shouldn't type DIGIT 7. We should think about
       LETTERs 3, 4, and 7, though, and look at various fonts and
       things to see if people encoded them with separate code
       positions and/or unique shapes to differentiate the numbers
       from the letters.

       I concur about digit 7. I really doubt that we'd find people
       encoding digit 7 separately from letter 7; in most cases, I
       expect, they haven't been doing any information processing that
       would care (that may be a naive assumption, though). Such
       things are quickly changing in the world today, though, and I
       wouldn't want to encourage them to maintain this kind of

       In the mean time, I suppose the Thais don't need to worry that
       the Unicode digit police will come knocking on doors regarding
       the Thai tone marks. (Those already have separate codepoints.)

       That reminds me of another issue along these lines: What to do
       for languages like Chinantec and Mixtec that write using Latin
       script and indicate tones using superscript letters? (The tone
       systems of these languages are far more complex than those of
       African languages, so diacritics like acute and grave didn't
       suffice. Yes, it's *far* from great, but apparently it was the
       best option.) Can the superscript 1 - 5 characters


       work for these? They are distinct from U+0030-0039, but the
       latter are the compatibility decompositions, and the semantics
       aren't ideal (general category: No; bidi category, EN).


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