Re: [OT] Why is the Khmer om sign called om and not um ?

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Mon Oct 20 2003 - 14:06:07 CST

----- Original Message -----
From: Sue and Maurice Bauhahn
To: Patrick Andries ;
Sent: 20 oct. 2003 14:19
Subject: RE: [OT] Why is the Khmer om sign called om and not um ?

>There are four problems associated with Unicode naming:

[PA] Just to reassure everyone "om" (or rather "um") is not a Unicode
character per se but the name given to a non-coded composite one in the
Unicode 4.0 text and the NameList.txt annotations. So I'm not questioning
the sacrosanct name of a character, which is immutable.

>(1) Different characters should not share the same Latinised name (so there
may be arbitrary
> differences in transliteration spelling to distinguish unique
characters/character combinations)

>(2) There has been no standardised transliteration scheme in languages such
as Khmer (for
> those that have been created are generally inadequate ... for example
because they are not
>reversible or because they are more complicated than the original)

>(3) Sounds of vowels (in Khmer, as in other languages) vary according to
> there is no right or wrong for these taken out of context

>(4) Sometimes transliteration mistakes have happened...but cannot be
reversed as they
> have become normative

[PA] I understand the arbitrary and delicate nature of these names, but this
does not explain why "aam" (itself again not an official character but only
a reference in the text and in NameList) seems to have a name based on the
name of one of its constituent ("aa") rather than its prononciation, while
"om" is not named "um" although the vowel that replaces "aa" is here "u".

P. A.


I was wondering why Unicode 4.0 refers to one of the dependent vowel signs
composed with nikahit (aka "am" pp. 278-279) as "om" while the other one is

If "aam" has a name based on the other character used in the composite vowel
sign (U+17B6 AA), an "etymological" name distant from its prononciation
[ɔ́ɘm], why would not "om" be called "um" since it is composed with U+17BB
whose value is U ?

This is incidentally closer to the transliteration in Daniels & Bright, p.
469 : « ʔum ». This is also the transliteration "uM" used on top of page 8

P. A.

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