Re: The Yoruba under-diacritic

From: Donald Z. Osborn (
Date: Tue Feb 01 2005 - 00:49:18 CST

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    Here is a contribution to this discussion by Samuel K. Olamijulo. It was posted
    on the Yoruba language & ICT board at (message # 166).

    I like the "both-and" (as opposed to "either-or") solution to the diacritic
    issue mentioned in the letter - i.e., two alternative standardized systems, one
    denoted "standard" (dots), the other "classical" (small vertical line). How
    that will work in practice is another issue, but it shouldn't be so complex.
    Perhaps the standard system could be used in most contexts and the classical
    one be an option. Even searches should be able to be adjusted to accommodate 2
    systems? In any event, better 2 systems and everyone happy than 1 system and
    some folks opting out, or no system and everything a mess.

    The suggestion concering a single coding for the underdiacritics raises complex
    issues unless one allows for Yoruba fonts to use the dot-under codepoints for
    characters with a more linelike dot appearance (as a style) than was foreseen
    in the character charts. So in effect the "classical" appearance would rely on
    sylistically different fonts, not on different combining diacritics.

    I had trouble accessing the page cited in the message but maybe you'll have
    better luck...

    Don Osborn

    Subject: Yoruba Letters Undermark Discussion Update- Jan 05

    Dear Dr Don Osborn and James Fox,

    [ . . . ]

    2. In April 2004, there was a useful discussion with inputs from experts and
    Yoruba language stakeholders from all over the world on the Yoruba Vowels and S
    undermarks issue. Find contributions links is at :


    It is useful for Yoruba Language Products Developers in particular and modern
    Yoruba Speakers, Writers and Students all over the world in general to be at
    least aware of some of the many Yoruba fonts and keyboards currently available.
    This should equip all stakeholders to participate better in the worthy pursuit
    of useful harmony in the face of different potential choices. Informed
    contributors observed that variety in Yoruba font styles is neither bad nor
    unique among font styles available for many other languages generally
    worldwide. It appears reasonable and practicable in contemporary Yoruba to
    accept the suggestions for a "standard" Yoruba using the dot under "E,e";
    "O,o"; "S,s" and a "classical" Yoruba using the vertical line under "E,e" ;
    "O,o"; "S,s" .
    The drive is to get the same code assigned to these two styles of the same
    letter leaving the installed font to render it one way or the other as per the
    underlying chosen style of the font. This should facilitate the development and
    better distribution of many more user friendly UNICODE COMPATIBLE YORUBA
    PRODUCTS AND SERVICES for the good of all Yoruba Language stakeholders


    It is useful to know what various experts and Yoruba stakeholders think now.

    Olamijulo S.K.

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