Re: Terminology question: character-like thing

Date: Wed Sep 29 1999 - 22:17:15 EDT

       Mark Davis wrote:
>- A combining character sequence is a type of "grapheme" (aka
       "user character"). Besides CCSs, graphemes also include Indic
       syllables, Thai/Lao syllables and Hangul Jamo syllables.

       I have no objection with most of your message, but some concern
       about this paragraph. I can't speak with any authority on Indic
       or Hangul, but I'm pretty sure for Thai and Lao that syllables
       would not be considered a grapheme. By structural and
       functional criteria, preceding and following vowel characters
       have as much claim to being graphemes (consider the character o
       ang, which functions either as a consonant or as a following
       vowel, and is certainly a grapheme regardless of the function),
       and I have no reason to doubt that Thais consider these to be
       as much graphemes as consonants. With combining vowels, tones
       and other diacritics, it might be argued on structural grounds
       that these are not graphemes, but the vowels, at least, are
       functionally on a par with baseline characters, and again I
       believe that Thais would consider them to be graphemes. It is
       certainly true that the notion of syllable is significant in
       the writing systems based on each of these scripts, but at
       least for Thai and Lao, I don't think grapheme should be
       equated with syllable.


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