Re: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 18:32:06 EST

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)"

    ----- Original Message -----
    De: "Philippe Verdy" <>

    > This is the role of diacritics and symbols added to the target script, so
    > that no information from the text written in the source script is lost.

    Yes, I know this but you cannot go from Berber written in Arabic to
    Tifinagh or Latin Scripts without losing some information. At least,
    according to some scholars' system. Do you also plan to modify the Arabic
    script as used by the current user of Berbere before coding the Tifinagh
    script ?

    > You seem to forget that Tifinagh is not a unified script,


    > but a set of separate scripts where the same glyphs are used with distinct
    semantic functions.

    Phonemic, I suspect. In any case, what is the problem with several
    characters having the same "representative" glyph in the code chart (they
    also have a name) ? I believe this is already the case for other characters.
    Some characters don't even have no glyph representation.

    > And I think it is the major issue which requires to choose a policy
    >for its encoding. If characters are encoded by their names (as they should
    > Unicode)

    Maybe (their phonemic value seems a good candidate to me, since letters may
    have different names in different areas).

    > then we are unable to produce an accurate chart showing "representative
    > glyphs", as no variant of the script covers the whole abstract character
    > set, and so this would require several charts, i.e. multiple glyphs for
    the same
    > abstract character.

    I don't see the problem, isn't this the whole idea in distinguishing between
    glyph and characters ?

    > In this condition, why couldn't Latin glyphs be among
    > these, when they already have the merit of covering the whole abstract
    > character set covered by all scripts in the Tifinagh family?

    Because it is best to use Tifinagh glyphs as representative glyphs of the
    Tifinagh script? Because the character names also specify the value of
    characters? And because, even if the script is not unified and some sign are
    not used everywhere, many signs are. I counted 16 common glyphs between the
    Hoggar variety and the Académie berbère's one, out a total of 28 glyphs
    found in these two varieties. Nine characters use different glyphs in the
    two varieties and 3 characters exists in Académie berbère's proposal but
    have no mapping (even ambiguous ones) in the Hoggar's variety. Only in the
    case of vowels, where the Hoggar variety which does not distinguish between
    vowels and semi-vowels (has 2 signs instead of 4), would it be ambiguous to
    use the Hoggar signs since the Académie Berbère uses different signs for the
    semivowels /w/ and /j/. But I agree that chosing the representative glyphs
    may become a sensitive issue if the Tifinagh script is to be unified, each
    school might feel offended that its preferred glyphs were not chosen in
    ISO/IEC 10646. This does not necessarily mean that Tifinagh should be
    encoded with an easy Latin mapping in mind.

    P. A.

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