RE: h in Greek epigraphy

From: David J. Perry (
Date: Fri Dec 20 2002 - 17:48:12 EST

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "RE: h in Greek epigraphy"

    Scripsit Michael Everson:

    > So when eta is
    > transliterated by epigraphers they should use either e-macron or h.
    Right; that's what they do.
    > Or is the question "when they transliterate into modern Greek fonts"?
    > Because then you have a problem -- since the Greek inscriptions and
    > modern Greek are the same, no transliteration should be necessary.
    I use (I believe correctly, but perhaps not) the term transcribe in this
    situation. Inscriptions are usually published in lowercase Greek
    letters (sometimes accompanied by a reproduction of the original
    all-caps form and sometimes not). Eta is avoided here except when
    dealing with inscriptions in the Ionic alphabet, and h is used as a
    lowercase equivalent of Eta that represents an "h" sound.

    > Is the question "should Greek h be encoded"?

    > In such an instance, I'd
    > say that the need for a Latin theta and chi for IPA would be a lot
    > more urgent, if cloning a borrowed letter were to be contemplated.
    What I'm trying to establish here is the principle that Unicode follows
    (or should follow). Based on the examples mentioned so far, it does
    seem to be current practice to use a letter encoded in one script as
    part of another when necessary (relatively rare, snd not approved of by
    everyone). When I posted my original question I did not know about the
    practice with Kurdish and Wakhi (thanks to Doug and Peter) and had not
    thought of the IPA connection, although I should have (thanks Michael).
    So as long as this is the practice, I have no problem using Latin h in
    Greek. If the general practice were ever changed and additional letters
    encoded for Kurish, Wakhi, and IPA, then Greek h should be encoded.
    (Perhaps somebody can explain why phi and epsilon were encoded in the
    IPA block when the other four Greek letters weren't.)

    BTW, the introductory sentence on page 360 of TUS 3 seems strange. It
    says that "IPA includes basic Latin letters and a number of Latin
    letters from other blocks" and then puts four Greek letters in the list!
    Should this be changed to something like "IPA includes basic Latin
    letters and a number of other Latin and Greek letters"?


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