From: Thomas M. Widmann (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 26 2003 - 17:44:23 EDT
> Thomas M. Widmann wrote on 05/26/2003 06:01:39 AM:
> > > I agree the EMPTY SET symbol is the right character to use. It
> > > has the right semantics, and in most fonts it will look
> > > sufficiently different from the IPA vowel symbol O WITH STROKE.
> > The only alternative I can think of would be U+0030 DIGIT ZERO, but
> > that would look wrong in most fonts.
> EMPTY SET is probably the better choice for that reason.
But the question is whether it is the right one nevertheless.
As Pullum writes in his "Phonetic Symbol Guide":
This has has no phonetic value, [...]
Dinnsen (1974, 43) uses the slightly different null set symbol <∅>
as the notation for a phonological segment "specified minus for all
I cannot represent the graphical page here, but his NULL SIGN is quite
slender, very much like a zero with a stroke, while the null set
symbol seems to be just as wide as it is tall, just as the EMPTY SET
symbol shown in the Unicode book.
I tend to agree with him that the normal visual representation of this
character in linguistics is different -- for instance, it was quite
slender in all the books I quoted earlier.
> > If U+2205 EMPTY SET is indeed the right character, it might be an
> > idea to give it an extra name (LINGUISTIC NULL or LINGUISTIC
> > ZERO), since its meaning is of course not "empty set" but rather
> > "empty element".
> An annotation about could be added, though I probably wouldn't
> suggest an alias: it isn't commonly known as "linguistic null" or
> "linguistic zero".
Yes, I think you're right that an annotation is best -- but only if
EMPTY SET is indeed the right character. I'm increasingly of the
opinion that a different character might be needed.
> If you want to see an annotation, you could make such a request to
Yes. Or I could suggest a new character, I guess.
-- Thomas Widmann, MA member of the steering group for europa.* Mavisbank Gardens, Glasgow, Scotland, EU email@example.com http://www.widmann.uklinux.net
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