RE: (SC2WG2.609) New contribution N2705

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Wed Feb 18 2004 - 01:43:08 EST

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    > From: Philippe Verdy []

    > In shorter term you agree that it contains a mix of a mathematical
    > notation used
    > to write specific regular expressions

    No; I said "yes" in agreement to Michael's statement: this is linguistic
    notation, not mathematical notation.

    Some linguistic notation is influenced by notation in certain fields of
    mathematics; but whether this is true for this particular use of tilde
    (I never encountered this usage in my math studies that I recall), we
    weren't talking about that symbol, were we.

    > I see some similarities between the undetermined vowel tainting letter
    > (the
    > subscripted x) and the leading star in the expression, used to denote
    > undetermined infered historic letter.

    Sorry, but the asterisk does *not* mean "undetermined" (unless you're
    using a different definition of that term than I'm familiar with). The
    subscript x means there is no particular value assigned; the asterisk
    absolutely does not mean that no value is assign; it only means that the
    assigned value is a hypothesis rather than something attested from
    observed usage.

    > 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 ?


    Rather than making ill-conceived suggestions for improvement based on
    uninformed guesses about established conventions in a field of study
    with which familiarity is limited, it is sometimes better to stick to
    merely observing the usage and listening to the explanations offered,
    inserting only questions as needed to fill in gaps in understanding.

    Peter Constable

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