Re: Mongolian Unicoding (was Re: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors)

Date: Tue Jan 20 2004 - 16:33:24 EST

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    Andrew C. West scripsit:

    > These are glyph variants of Phags-pa letters that are used with semantic
    > distinctiveness in a single (but very important) text, _Menggu Ziyun_ , a 14th
    > century rhyming dictionary of Chinese in which Chinese ideographs are listed by
    > their Phags-pa spellings. In this one text only, variant forms of the letters
    > FA, SHA, HA and YA are used contrastively in order to represent historical
    > phonetic differences between Chinese syllables that were pronounced the same in
    > early 14th century standard Chinese (Old Mandarin).

    In short, these are like the diacritics used in some English-language dictionaries
    to mark up English words to show how the vowels are pronounced, except they are
    "abstract diacritics" rather than shape-based ones.

    "While staying with the Asonu, I met a man from     John Cowan
    the Candensian plane, which is very much like
    ours, only more of it consists of Toronto."
            --the unnamed narrator of Le Guin's _Changing Planes_

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