Re: Major Defect in Combining Classes of Tibetan Vowels

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 05:10:44 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Major Defect in Combining Classes of Tibetan Vowels"

    On Tue, 24 Jun 2003 16:11:31 -0700 (PDT), Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    > I'm guessing that you are claiming there are instances where
    > the shabkyu does cooccur with other vowels above as well.
    > Wouldn't those, if they do occur, represent a distinctly
    > minority case in terms of the overall processing? The short
    > summaries of Tibetan writing that I've seen don't even mention
    > it as a possibility, since even the few diphthongs in -u
    > are written with a separate stack <0F60, 0F74> to the
    > right of the main stack.

    Stacks with vowel signs above and below the same base consonant occur in
    shorthand abbreviations or contractions (bskungs-yig). For instance, the word
    "bcuig" (with the letter CA having a gigu [i] above and shabkyu [u] below),
    which is a contraction of the two-syllable word "bcu-gcig" (eleven).

    I've never really understood normalization, but it seems to me that normalising
    "bcuig" <0F56, 0F45, 0F74, 0F72, 0F42> to "bciug" <0F56, 0F45, 0F72, 0F74, 0F42>
    is wrong as "bciug" could conceivably be a shorthand abbreviation for a
    completely different word with a gigu [i] on the first syllable and a shabkyu
    [u] on the second syllable. What I think I'm saying is that although you always
    write the shabkyu [u] before writing any superfixed vowel signs, there may be
    cases where a superfixed vowel sign logically precedes the subfixed vowel sign,
    and that preserving the logical order of the vowel signs is necessary in order
    to differentiate lexical differences. Thus, the stack "cui" <0F45, 0F74, 0F72>
    may be an abbreviation for "cu ci", whereas the stack "ciu" <0F45, 0F72, 0F74>
    may be an abbreviation for "ci cu", and normalising them to both <0F45, 0F72,
    0F74> would result in the loss of lexical data.

    Hope this makes sense.


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