Re: proposals I wrote (and also, didn't write)

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Mon Dec 06 2004 - 18:22:36 CST

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    E. Keown wrote:

    > Elaine Keown
    > in beautiful Vancouver, B.C.
    >I wrote 3 Hebrew diacritics proposals between
    >One of them was incorrectly entered in the WG2 online
    >listing. It needs the title below, which includes the
    >word 'Samaritan.' The WG2 listing completely
    >misidentifies the proposal---the title listed has NO
    >relationship to my actual title.
    >I am still waiting on the font for these, but I think
    >part of it might be finished soon.
    >Proposal to add Samaritan Pointing to the UCS
    >WG2 number: N2748
    This is the one I'm going to comment on, since it's the one I know best.

    I know that Michael Everson and I are working on a Samaritan proposal,
    which I think will sum up a lot of the points you have here, better.
    Things like:

    - Vowel names. My Samaritan informant preferred simply SAMARITAN VOWEL
    A / E / AA / O / U to the traditional Arabic names, on the grounds that
    the Arabic names aren't native Samaritan names either. But scholars are
    probably familiar with them, so maybe we should keep the Arabic names
    and relegate the phonetics to the notes (especially since they are used
    inconsistently in old texts). But we probably should normalize to other
    Arabic transliteration: "FATHA AL-IHA" etc. There are one or two other
    marks noted in Ben-Hayyim's "Grammar of Samaritan Hebrew." Also, there
    are other Samaritan vowels, more recent proposals (such as O) which are
    in use by the Samaritan community in teaching materials, and also a few
    other vowel-like symbols not covered. (mark for indicating hard BA and
    FI, mark for YUT-like vowel hiatus, etc).

    - Accents (te`amim, whatever you call them). The names should probably
    follow Samaritan pronunciation (AFSAQ, ANGED, etc) and not Tiberian
    pronunciation based only on the consonants. Also, these are not
    combining marks, so are not really diacritics. I'm awaiting delivery of
    a Samaritan teaching Pentateuch which, from what I've heard, uses
    *another* entire system of cantillation marks to teach proper prosody.
    It's a relatively recent invention, but if it is in fact unlike
    punctuation we've seen, and if it is in fact in use, it should be

    - Other marks. There are several other Samaritan punctuations on my
    list, such as an abbreviation mark, etc.

    - Letters. We have a list of the letters in Samaritan pronunciation.
    Despite the paleographical distinction between "majuscule" and
    "minuscule" forms, I do not believe that these constitute an actual case
    distinction. There is no evidence of usage along the lines of case
    distinctions. It's not "you use majuscules with these words or with
    such and such letters," it's "you use majuscules for formal texts."
    They're different fonts, not different alphabets. My informant did not
    object when I observed this.

    We should probably also bounce these off some secular Samaritan scholars
    (again, with the newest versions).

    >When these items are added, plus a couple more, then
    >we will all be done with diacritics for *Hebrew* in
    >Unicode. There are more punctuation symbols, more
    >number symbols, more abbreviation symbols.....
    There's a big and scary document I need to write about symbols for the
    Tetragrammaton, underpinning my proposal from years ago, and someone's
    going to have to figure out a good answer. In an old list of proposed
    characters of yours, Elaine, you also mentioned the PETUHA and SETUMA
    symbols. Those should probably be discussed; I can see arguments for
    and against those (mainly against, but not entirely).


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