Re: Bantu click letters

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Jun 10 2004 - 09:13:56 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "RE: Bantu click letters"

    At 10:00 -0400 2004-06-10, John Cowan wrote:
    >Michael Everson scripsit:
    >> They were published in Bantu Studies in 1925 in an article by a
    >> rather important scholar in the field of African linguistics.
    >We don't encode characters according to the clout of the user, or
    >the Apple logo would have been in Unicode long since. :-)

    False analogy. The Apple logo is a logo. Phonetic characters are
    phonetic characters.

    > > Effort and expense was made to cut the letters for the publication.
    >And today, if I were reprinting it, I'd commission a digital font
    >(your effort, my expense) and put the characters in the PUA.

    Not if you wanted, as an Africanist, to be able to represent the text
    as it was originally written.

    > > The sounds they represent are idiosyncratic and difficult to
    >> describe, much less write.
    >I think that characters used in a single document by a single scholar,
    >however prestigious, can fairly be described as idiosyncratic to him.

    You don't know whether or not they were only used in a single
    document. You know only that I *own* that single document. You are
    declaring the characters guilty until proved innocent. That's

    >If I decided to start using thorn instead of theta in my otherwise
    >IPA transcriptions, that would be an idiosyncratic use of it.

    Plenty of Germanist transcriptions use thorn. In any case, the
    analogy isn't relevant, as both thorn and theta are encoded and
    available for use.

    >If instead I used OVERCLOCKED HOOCHIMADINGER SYMBOL, that would be
    >even more idiosyncratic.
    >(LATIN LETTER OWL, indeed.)


    This symbol is interesting, by the way. Asmus says it's similar to
    something the Japanese use for telephone answering machines. I don't
    know about that, though it looks familar to me. I wonder what Doke's
    source for it was.

    > > Personal? No: he published.
    >Fair enough.

    Thank you.

    > > Novel? Perhaps
    >> (in 1925); Doke is likely to have devised them.
    >They are just as novel today as they were eighty years ago; I well
    >remember how astonished you and I were, looking over the text.

    I was astonished because I hadn't seen them before. That does not
    mean I didn't believe that they weren't worthy of encoding. Just
    because I hadn't seen them before doesn't mean they don't exist and
    aren't worthy of encoding either. Khoisian phonology is rather
    esoteric, after all.

    > > Private use? Be
    >> serious, John. That's a pretty ridiculous suggestion.
    >I am serious. The PUA is the proper place for these things.

    I am gobsmacked. On what grounds are these not characters? They are
    not glyph representations of other characters. The PRE-PALATAL N is
    described in terms of its phonology as being neither N nor N WITH

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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