RE: Addition of remaining two Maltese Characters to Unicode

Date: Tue Aug 01 2000 - 11:13:35 EDT

> However if the 'ie' in friend is simply assumed to be 'ie',
> not 'i' + 'e'
> the list would be sorted (incorrectly) as,
> > frigate
> > friend
> > id-dar
> > iehor
> > liema

What I do not understand (I don't know Maltese) is why you say that this
order is not correct.

Alphabetization is normally done according to the rules of the user's
language, not according to the rules of all the single languages that gave
origin to the words in the list.

If Maltese orthography considers "ie" as a single letter, coming after "i",
this rule should be applied consistently for any alphabetized list that has
to be used by Maltese speakers, regardless that the list contains a few (or
a lot) words of foreign origin.

An alphabetic order like the one you describe would require that anyone know
in *advance* whether the sought world is genuinely Maltese of a foreign

And this is obviously not possible in many cases. Imagine a beginner who
looks up the word "friend" in a Maltese-Italian dictionary, how is she
supposed to know that this particular "ie" is not the Maltese letter "ie"
because that world is an English loan? A similar information is exactly what
the dictionary is supposed to tell her!

Even more problematic is the case of lists containing mostly meaningless
words (e.g. proper names).

If you are looking up the Valletta telephone book for the number of a
certain Mr. Liema (that you don't know personally), you should first of all
phone him to ask whether his name is genuinely Maltese or has a foreign
origin (e.g. German ['li:ma] or an Italian ['ljEma]), then you have all the
info to look up his number.

_ Marco

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