Re: (SC2WG2.609) New contribution N2705

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Feb 17 2004 - 18:19:54 EST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: (SC2WG2.609) New contribution N2705"

    On 17/02/2004 14:13, Philippe Verdy wrote:

    >From: "Peter Constable" <>
    >>So, the expression *hxC(V)- ~ *shxC(V) is saying, in relation to certain
    >>phoneme sequences known to exist in later varieties, that an earlier
    >>precedessor to the language(s) in question is believed to have had hC or
    >>shC, and hCV or shCV (with the vowel colouring on the h unknown or left
    >In shorter term you agree that it contains a mix of a mathematical notation used
    >to write specific regular expressions (alternation noted '~' where regexp uses
    >'|', C and V being variables), and some plain-text characters (here only "hx"
    >and "shx").
    More or less, but I think that here hx is also a variable, probably
    intended to mean "any one of ha, he or ho", leaving s as the only true
    plain text letter.

    >It true that this looks more like a mathematical notation, but it still contains
    >phonological/phonetic letters which are the only ones that are addressed by the
    >proposal (here the subscripted x for undetermined vowel tainting of the
    >preceding h).
    >Also the complex expression could be as well written more simply as:
    >without the alternation. My opinion is that parentheses are just there for
    >grouping and that the minus sign operator is used in this notation to denote the
    >optionality (where regexps use '?')
    It is clear that you do not at all understand the notational convention
    here. Perhaps that helps to prove the point that this is not text but
    technical notation. In fact here the parentheses denote optionality, the
    hyphen that the word continues, and the asterisk that the whole thing is
    a reconstruction, not an attested word.

    >I see some similarities between the undetermined vowel tainting letter (the
    >subscripted x) and the leading star in the expression, used to denote an
    >undetermined infered historic letter. Shouldn't both use the same glyph with
    >just a distinct positioning? Could it be that the undetermined vowel tainting
    >letter be shown as a subscripted star ?
    It is not for Unicode to tell people how to improve their writing
    systems or technical notations, but only to describe and encode those
    systems and notations as they exist.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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