From: Philippe Verdy (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Nov 09 2003 - 09:53:21 EST
From: "Don Osborn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> As for other African scripts, they are most notable in the western
> and northern parts of the continent. Tifinagh and N'ko are in the
> process of being encoded. I just had a conversation with someone
> the other day who recounted seeing a letter written in Tifinagh
> script in a rural part of northern Niger written by someone to a
> local chief - quietly this script continues to be used.
I was concerned recently by some people who wanted to better write the
Tifinagh languages (such as Berber) with the Latin script (notably for North
Africa, but also in Europe due to the important North African community,
notably in France).
The current situation of the Berber language can no longer be maintained:
there's a real need to support the language with a unique encoding system,
even if it involves variants for glyphs (there are differences between the
official Moroccoan initiative and the desires of Berber people in other
African or European countries).
One of the most acute problem comes with the representation of Ayin, and
problems related to the case conversions of this letter (what is the correct
way to represent the uppercase Ayain? There are divergences as some will
want to borrow a Greek Sigma glyph, others will prefer the mirrored 3-shaped
Same problem with the dot below consonnants: is it really a dot-below
diacritic or shouldn't there be a separate encoding for the "dotted"
consonnants, which would allow them to be rendered as dot below or above or
on the right or with an asterisk glyph, possibly with a compatibility
mapping to the sequence <Latin consonnant, combining dot-below>
When the Tifinagh script will be standardized, it would then be interesting
to allow it to be rendered correctly with Latin letters and diacritic glyphs
on a user font preference, as it corresponds more to the now modern use of
It would have the benefit of allowing interchanges of dictionnaries and
texts even if they are rendered differently. It could be possible if the
transliteration between the historic Tifinagh script and the Latin script
obeys to precise presentation rules, and also possible because there does
not seem to exist for now a precise orthograph of Tifinagh-based languages
when they are written with the Latin script (and this does not facilitate
the exchange of information between people sharing the same language but
distinct conventions for the written language).
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