Re: Latin vowels?

From: Mark Davis (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 10:39:46 EDT

Ah, now I understand the 'guilty' part.

The UTC decided that rather than change the base rules in #29, it
would provide a prominent example of how those rules would be tailored
for French and Italian, citing those rules in that section. So for
that section, the only requirement is the set of letters X for
French/Italian specifically that would break in the sequence LETTER
APOSTROPHE X -- it doesn't have to be all vowels.

I am doing the other list for something unconnected to #29, but we do
need that set X also. However, if I and U are sometimes consonants in
Italian, it does make the #29 apostrophe rules trickier -- unless
those cases are such a small percentage that it is not worth
contorting the rules for.

◄ “Eppur si muove” ►

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marco Cimarosti" <>
To: "'Radovan Garabik'" <>;
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 06:30
Subject: RE: Latin vowels?

> Radovan Garabik wrote:
> > Originally, of course, latin had only capital letters
> Well... This reminds me of people who say that language XYZ only has
> gender. :-)
> I mean: if there was just one set of letters, how do you say they
> "capitals" or not? Are Arabic letters capitals?
> Seriously speaking: the percentage of Latin text written in all
capitals is
> so tiny that it can probably be ignored for any practical purpose.
> > A bookcase full of old (~100 years) hungarian books has just got
> > my posession. I noticed that "J" is there often used as a vowel
> > at the beginning of word before consonant (where modern
> > hungarian has "I").
> Letter "j" ("long i") used to be a contextual variant of "i", used
at the
> beginning of words and in some other contexts, and it used to have
> phonetic meaning.
> In was only in the 16th century which printers started using "j" for
> consonantal value of "i". This usage was immediately successful for
> languages for which the two sounds were radically (e.g., English,
> Spanish). Languages, such as Hungarian, where the consonantal sound
of "i"
> was /j/ were slower to adopt it. In Italian and Latin, this
convention has
> never been very successful, and "j" is still regarded today as a
just a
> variant of "i".
> > Conclusion? It is pointless to talk about vowels and consonants,
> > if you are speaking about a _writing_ system (especially
> > the language it concerns).
> > Vowels and consonants make sense when speaking about
> I tend to agree, in general. It makes no sense to say whether a
letter is a
> vowel or not, because vowels are sounds, not signs of writing, and
> map to sounds in different ways in different languages.
> So I think that the purpose of this classification should be made
> My assumption was that this had something to do with some heuristics
> proposed for handling of the apostrophe in DUTR#29
> ( If this is a
> whether or not a letter is classified as "vowel" is a purely
> and arbitrary choice, which has little or no relationship with
> But if the purpose is something different (e.g., a generic algorithm
> split words into syllables), then the answers could be very totally
> different, and even evaluate to: "It's totally impossible".
> _ Marco

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