Transliteration of Semitic alef/hamza and ayin

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Fri Jan 30 2004 - 10:31:43 EST

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    On the Hebrew Computing list,, there has been some
    discussion of which Unicode characters should be used for
    transliteration of the Hebrew letters alef and ayin. I think we have
    reached a consensus that the most suitable characters are 02BE and 02BF
    respectively, and that 02C0 and 02C1, described in the Unicode character
    charts as "typographical alternates" of 02BE and 02BF, are also
    possible. In what follows, I presume that 02BE and 02BF are preferred.

    Currently the code charts include the following notes:

    02BE ... transliteration of Arabic hamza (glottal stop)
    02BF ... transliteration of Arabic ain (voiced pharyngeal fricative)

    This is correct, of course, but incomplete. Several of us on the Hebrew
    Computing list would like to see these notes expanded to include mention
    of Hebrew. Arguably, they should be expanded further to cover other
    Semitic languages. I would like to propose first an expansion as
    follows, with perhaps further expansion to follow:

    02BE ... transliteration of Arabic hamza and Hebrew alef (glottal stop)
    02BF ... transliteration of Arabic ain and Hebrew ayin (voiced
    pharyngeal fricative)

    Pointers should be added to the Hebrew letters to match the current
    pointers to Arabic letters.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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