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

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 19:46:28 EST

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    From: "Patrick Andries" <>
    > > 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?

    No: the simple reason is the choice of the "representative" glyph, which
    probably be accurate for one cultural convention but completely wrong with
    another, as that glyph represent another phoneme coded at a different
    place where another "representative" glyph is used, which may also be

    Look at the phonemic meaning of the glyph that looks like two triangles,
    pointing top and bottom to each other. Look at the glyph which looks like a
    moon crescent (open on right side) with a dot in the middle... Which
    phonemic value do they have? This depends on cultural conventions, and it
    really looks as if there was not _one_ but several distinct Tifinagh scripts
    using the same glyphs but with incompatible phonemic values...

    > 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.

    I'm just suggesting that if the phonemic encoding model is used, the choice
    of "representative" glyphs will create confusion, as it will privilegiate
    one interpretation of the glyphs and not the other one. Polemics are already
    present on the Internet because of the choice of interpretation that has
    been made by Morocco, which excludes other interpretations.

    So you won't avoid that users will need a way to better know which phoneme
    is represented by the codepoint. One can of course look at the assigned
    character names, but it will be less polemic if the Tifinagh script is
    standardized with several charts showing the relevant glyphs for each
    represented culture (some squares in the charts will be blank, or just
    showing the hexadecimal codepoint which is not used in each culture, and
    Berber readers will still need to see there where they also write a Latin
    glyph, when they want to communicate with the common Latin transliteration.)

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