Re: Bantu click letters

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Jun 10 2004 - 10:24:46 CDT

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    At 11:00 -0400 2004-06-10, John Cowan wrote:
    >Michael Everson scripsit:
    >>Although Pullum and Ladusaw don't show the glyphs, they refer
    >>specifically to Doke's characters (s.v. ///). They describe them as
    >>"ad hoc" which I suppose the were, in 1925, though "novel" would
    >>do as well as they aren't entirely arbitrary and they weren't
    >>"found" bits of lead type pressed into other service -- they were
    >>cut to order.
    >If Sequoyah had had clout, we'd probably be using his original
    >characters for Cherokee today.

    Not only non sequitur, but an unreasonable assumption.

    My point was that I considered Pullum and Ladusaw's use of the word
    "ad hoc" to be unlikely. If they were ad-hoc, any printer's sorts
    might be used. (Pullum and Ladusaw are not infallible of course; cf

    > > That Pullum and Ladusaw have not forgotten Doke's characters suggests
    > > that Africanists will also likely not forget them, and will find use
    >> in access to them as encoded characters in the UCS.
    >It's P&L's business to remember what would otherwise be (mercifully,
    >in some cases) forgotten, so that people who need to interpret old
    >documents have some hope of doing so.

    You have a weird view of the history of phonetics, John. You haven't
    addressed the substantive issue: these are Latin characters used to
    represent sounds which in 1925 could not easily be represented. That
    they didn't become the IPA standard for representing them is
    accidental. Indeed, there are click letters like the STRETCHED C
    which did get into IPA and were later deprecated. So you can
    represent the STRETCHED C in chu: as Doke writes it (as do Pullum and
    Ladusaw, using Doke's diacritics as well) but you can't represent
    Doke's other letters? This doesn't make sense.

    I would like to know where the STRETCHED C comes from, actually.
    Pullum & Ladusaw note that Beach used it in 1938, and proposed a
    curly version in the same year, but it certainly predates that since
    Doke uses it.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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