I am Angelo Dalli, currently working at the University of Malta on a project
that involves the creation of the first ever computational lexicon for the
Maltese language. As part of my work I have analysed all major data
representation formats for Maltese and noticed that Unicode actually leaves
out two Maltese characters from its definitions.
These characters are the only two digraphs in the Maltese language, namely
the consonant 'gh' (where h is stroked) and the sixth vowel 'ie'. Though
these characters can be rendered onscreen using separate characters, they
are actually defined as separate characters in the Maltese alphabet. There
are also problems in distinguishing between the Maltese 'ie' and the
sequence 'i' + 'e' found in words adopted from English. Evidently, the only
correct solution to this problem is to add these two characters to Unicode.
The characters are in heavy daily use, making Unicode quite inadequate to
represent Maltese until they are added.
Note that representing these two digraphs is fraught with problems,
especially due to the context sensitive capitalisation rules. ‘gh’ at the
start of a word is capitalised as ‘Gh’ while for an all-capitals word it is
written as ‘GH’. Similarly ‘ie’ is capitalised as ‘Ie’ at the start of a
word and as ‘IE’ for an all-capitals word.
I will soon be proposing to add these characters in the Latin Extended-B
(U+0180..U+024F) or the Latin Extended Additional areas (U+1E80..U+1EFF),
preferably in the Latin Extended-B area. The following list defines the
proposed six new characters together with their long form description.
Character Long Form
Gh MALTESE CAPITAL LETTER GHAJN
gh MALTESE SMALL LETTER GHAJN
Ie MALTESE CAPITAL LETTER IE
ie MALTESE SMALL LETTER IE
GH MALTESE ALL CAPITAL LETTER GHAJN
IE MALTESE ALL CAPITAL LETTER IE
The long form starts with 'Maltese' since both 'gh' and 'ie' are unique to
the Maltese language.
I would like any comments, tips, suggestions, questions, etc. before making
my formal proposal to Unicode. I would appreciate if any feedback is made
before 7 August.
Department of Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence
University of Malta
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:06 EDT