Re: Re[2]: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 17:34:36 EST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)"

    At 02:22 PM 11/10/2003, Philippe Verdy wrote:

    >The the case of Berber this is not true: it is the same language written
    >with 2 scripts (actually 3 as Arabic is also used). The mapping is not perfect
    >for now, but there are works to correct this and adopt a single convention in
    >each script (but with a question about whever the Tifinagh script used in
    >Berber will be enough to display Berber texts written in Latin: will it
    >accept new glyphs or diacritics to exhibit the missing letters used in the
    >script which unifies the whole set of languages using some variant of the
    >Tifinagh script?

    Perhaps my simple and not-worth-belabouring point would have been clearer
    if I had characterised transliteration as writing the words of a language
    in different *orthographies*, which may or may not involved a change of
    scripts. In the case of transliterating Russian names in English
    newspapers, you have two languages and two orthographies. In the case of
    Berber, you have one language and two or three orthographies. The fact that
    there is only one language is as irrelevant as a lot of the other things in
    this thread: what matters is the different orthographies.

    An orthography is a set of *characters* used to write a language according
    to a set of conventions. A typography is a set of *glyphs* used to
    articulate a text in a given orthography. From this is follows that the
    proper place to performs transliteration -- the appropriate place to shift
    from one orthography to another -- is in character processing, not glyph

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    I sometimes think that good readers are as singular,
    and as awesome, as great authors themselves.
                                           - JL Borges

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