From: Andrew C. West (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 18:56:40 EDT
On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 19:47:26 +0400, "Valeriy E. Ushakov" wrote:
> And given that the two look identical in writing in the first palce,
> this lexical difference had a chance to originate exactly *where*?
> You are putting the cart before the horse.
Well, unless the text has been scanned with OCR, a human user will have to enter
Tibetan text manually, and if the user encounters a base consonant with two
different vowel signs joined to it, they will have to make a choice as to which
order the vowel signs are entered.
For example, if the word "bcuig" (with the letter CA carrying both a shabkyu [u]
and gigu [i] sign) is encountered in a text that is being transcribed into
electronic form, and the user recognises it from its context as a contraction
for "bcu gcig" (eleven), then it would be natural to enter " b-c-u-i-g" <0F56,
0F45, 0F74, 0F72, 0F42>. On the other hand, if a syllable (tsheg bar) comprising
the base consant GA with a shabkyu [u] sign below and a gigu [i] sign above is
encountered (this is a plausible but hypothetical contraction), and the user
recognises this from its context as a contraction for the word "gi gu" (the name
for the I vowel sign), then it would be natural to enter "g-i-u" <0F42, 0F72,
0F74>, even though when writing it by hand the shabkyu would be written before
the gigu (calligraphic order does not necessarily equate to logical order). In
the one case a base consonant plus shabkyu and gigu is entered as <0FXX, 0F74,
0F72>, in the other case as <0FXX, 0F72, 0F74>.
Unfortunately it is precisely at this point that my argument starts to crumble,
and I am forced to throw in the towel, and admit defeat.
The key question is, if <0F56, 0F45, 0F74, 0F72, 0F42> (bcuig) gets normalised
to <0F56, 0F45, 0F72, 0F74, 0F42> (bciug), then so what ? Well, so nothing,
unless <0F56, 0F45, 0F74, 0F72, 0F42> (bcuig) is a shared contraction for two
different words, and the order of the U and I distinguishes what the contraction
is. As Tibetan shorthand abbreviations are an informal, non-standardised method
of abbreviating words, it is hypothetically possible that two different scribes
could come up with the same contracted form for two differently spelled words,
but I very much doubt that this would ever happen in reality. If I do find such
a case, I will certainly let this list know, but in the meanwhile I agree that
perhaps it would be more productive to return to Chris's original question,
rather than travel too far down this detour, scenic though it is.
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