Re: Egyptological Transliteration Characters

From: Philipp Reichmuth (
Date: Thu Oct 21 2004 - 13:44:53 CST

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    Dean Snyder schrieb:
    >>For Semitics at least, this is *not* a "left quotation mark"; people
    >>normally use a left half ring wherever the character is available.
    > The following is a small and quickly generated sample list of
    > publications in which transliterated Semitic ayins are represented by
    > left single quotation marks (and alephs are represented by right single
    > quotation marks):


    Today, I went to make some scans from the following works:

    Reckendorf, H., Über Paronomasie in den semitischen Sprachen, Gießen:
    Töpelmann 1909
    Gibb, H.A.R. et al. (eds.), The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Leiden: Brill 1960--
    Hetzron, Robert (ed.), The Semitic Languages, London: Routledge 1997

    and from the journal "Die Welt des Islam", all of which use left half
    ring. Most works typeset by Brill will, too, including several
    encyclopedias and a large number of volumes from the Handbuch der
    Orientalistik. (Brill have very distinct half ring characters in their
    Baskerville fonts.) I don't really have the time to do a comprehensive
    survey on what is more frequent in our library.

    I'm not saying that half ring is the *only* way Ayin is transcribed.
    Lipinski, Edward, Semitic Languages: Outline of a comparative grammar,
    Leuven: Peeters 1997 has a left single quotation mark, for example, and
    uses a right one for hamza/glottal stop. Incidentally, the book is
    typeset in Times.

    However, I would say that left half ring is preferred, at least in works
    dealing with more than just Hebrew (supposing the character was
    available at all to the respective author) On the other hand, I "grew
    up" in the DMG transliteration schemes, so I'm probably a bit
    pre-inclined towards the half ring form. My statement that quotation
    mark is just a substitute for half ring was probably too strong.

    > A decision to encode ayin characters needs to be accurately informed by
    > such practices.

    Definitely. On the other hand, I would say that choice between left
    quotation mark and left half ring is largely due to different
    transliteration practices. The fact that Hebraists more frequently use
    quotation marks does not make any implication at all for Egyptology,
    especially because of the properties of ayin in Hebrew.

    Unicode should *not* advocate particular transliteration practices.


    Which is what I use (dating back from Unicode 3.0, where it was
    specifically annotated). (I know authors who use superscript c as well.)


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