Re: IPA a vowels

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Fri Sep 10 1999 - 13:10:34 EDT

Peter noted:

> Ah, but there should be a measure of freedom for African type
> designers to stray from the original shapes to something that
> might no longer be acceptable for the purpses of IPA. There
> must be a clear distinction between IPA as phonetic
> transcription for research purposes, and IPA as a source of
> graphemes for an orthography. There is a degree of freedom of
> glyph shapes in orthographies that doesn't exist in IPA.

Agreed. But this does not mean that IPA characters need to be
cloned into the character encoding to maintain these distinctions
in plain text. (And in particular, there is no need to clone an
IPA hooktop-a; Michael's analysis was correct.)

Most text that mixes formal IPA transcription with a Latin orthography
should be fonted text, anyway. IPA type designs *should* be constrained
to a fairly narrow range, to match the IPA specifications. For example,
sans-serif IPA looks horrible. A Courier IPA is almost incomprehensible.
A Chancery IPA? The mind boggles. It just makes more sense for a
formal, technical orthography like IPA to be maintained within its
expected parameters for clarity of representation, while allowing
text body typefaces to vary according to their own aesthetic rules --
including IPA-derived orthographies such as the Pan-Nigerian alphabet.


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