Re: Roadmap---Mandaic, Early Aramaic, Samaritan

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Sun Aug 10 2003 - 19:56:43 EDT

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    Elain Keown responded to Michael:

    > > I really, really, really don't have time to debug your
    > > dissatisfaction with the use of the word "Aramaic" in the Roadmaps.
    > > This is NOT something anyone is working actively on right now. When a
    > I'm not writing about nomenclature---not the point all.
    > I'm objecting to your endlessly fracturing such closely related
    > scripts into completely different blocks, thus making Afroasiatic
    > even harder to handle than it has to be.

    Back to Michael's point: This is NOT something anyone is working
    actively on right now. There are no active proposals for Nabatean,
    Palmyran, Mandaic, whatever... Whether or not these end up encoded
    in separate blocks is a matter of future debate, *when* an active
    proposal or proposals are on the table stating the issues.
    > You have no Semitists in your e-world, there is no one to fight you,
    > no one except me and a few Hebraists care about the fate of
    > electronic Afroasiatic.

    I don't see how this is the case, given that you earlier scoped
    Afroasiatic to include Ugaritic, Egyptian, Akkadian, and other

    > > The borders we draw are based on the analyses of script experts.
    > You've never had a Semitic script expert, that's the problem.

    This is nonsense. We are beset with Semitic script experts.
    What you might mean is that Michael doesn't have to hand an
    expert on your range of early Aramaic scripts, in particular.
    Or are you claiming that Hebrew and Arabic are not Semitic
    > If you continue at the rate you are going, you will continue to
    > build codes that will torture me until I die.

    If your strongly stated opposition to encoding Mandaic,
    Samaritan, and "early Aramaic" (which you have subsequently
    weakened by admitting, for example, that there is a separate
    community of usage of Samaritan) means that you don't want
    to represent some collection of early Aramaic scripts with
    separate characters (but instead wish to display them as
    font variants of Hebrew), then nobody is going to stop you.
    As Michael indicated, you are perfectly free to represent them
    all in Hebrew, if that is the best solution for your research.

    And if the relations are as transparent as you indicate, then
    conversion of other corpuses to match your own conventions
    should be reasonably trivial, in any case.

    > This isn't an abstract and charming problem, like the conlangs,
    > these are real languages and real software will be built for them.
    > Maybe you have little interest in our small user community, but we are
    > at least as large as the Samaritan one, although I admit they
    > have far more interesting customs.
    > Elaine

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