RE: Hebrew Vav Holam

From: Jony Rosenne (
Date: Fri Aug 01 2003 - 02:41:11 EDT

  • Next message: Jony Rosenne: "Re: Hebrew Vav Holam"

    It isn't so simple, because the statement that they have different
    typography isn't true, in the sense that it isn't the whole truth. In common
    use they have the same typography, in rare use they have different
    typography, and most users do not know about the difference.

    Whatever solution is agreed upon, it must satisfy the needs of both classes
    of users, for input, rendering and for searching.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Ted Hopp []
    > Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 9:39 PM
    > To: Jony Rosenne;
    > Subject: Re: Hebrew Vav Holam
    > On Thursday, July 31, 2003 2:31 PM, Jony Rosenne wrote:
    > > This argumentation applies equally well to th (which should be at
    > > least
    > two
    > > Unicodes in English), gh (how many?), etc.
    > >
    > > Jony
    > How so? Holam male has different semantics, different
    > pronunciation, and different typography from consonantal vav
    > with holam haser. The distinctions cannot be maintained in
    > text encoded with Unicode. The same arguments (especially the
    > point about Unicode erasing distinctions) do not apply to th
    > and gh. Nobody (at least, no native English speaker) thinks
    > of th or gh as single characters, either. (You might have a
    > little more luck if you tried ch, ll, and rr in Spanish. But
    > then, of course, your argument would be weaker because the
    > devil's advocate position wouldn't be as silly.) The full
    > argument also does not apply to the case of shuruq vs. vav
    > with dagesh (semantics and pronunciation yes, typography no).
    > Notice that nobody's making a lot of noise about shuruq.
    > So we can just shrug our shoulders and say that nobody should
    > care and so be it. Or we can look to a solution. The cleanest
    > one (to my way of thinking) is to add a character to Unicode.
    > I strongly prefer adding a holam male
    > (base) character as opposed to adding a new combining mark.
    > The only alternative proposal that seems to make some sense
    > is to leave the Unicode characters as they are and adopt the
    > usage convention that a Hebrew consonant combined with a
    > holam haser (and possibly other marks, but not other vowels)
    > followed by a vav with no combining marks (including no
    > teamim, except maybe 05C4, if anyone can say what that's for)
    > should be interpreted as the consonant followed by a holam
    > male. However, this has its own problems, such as requiring
    > extended contextual analysis (possibly including a look-ahead
    > to the end of a word) to resolve the meaning of an encoding.
    > We'd also need to figure out how to handle creating a holam
    > male at the start of a line, surrounded by spaces, etc. We'd
    > have to give up on the possibility of writing one holam male
    > after another in any simple way. If it can be made to work
    > under those conditions, it may be a viable alternative.
    > Ted
    > Ted Hopp, Ph.D.
    > ZigZag, Inc.
    > +1-301-990-7453
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    > ...on the web at

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