Re: How to encode underlined characters

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 15:58:59 CDT

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    From: "Chris Harvey" <>
    > Ysgrifennodd Jon Hanna <> ar y 08-09-2005 am 12:39:
    >> Could you tell us more about how the underlined letters work in this
    >> orthography?
    > Sure. I will show underlined characters with an underscore, so a_i_ is
    > underlined ‘ai’.
    > There are 6 vowels in Shoshoni: ‘a’ [a], ‘e’ [ə], ‘i’ [i], ‘o’ [o], ‘u’
    > [u], and ‘a_i_’ [ɛ]. ‘a_i_’ is differentiated from ‘ai’ which is the
    > diphthong [ai].

    It really looks like writing Shoshoni was limited by American typewriters
    that didn't have any diacritics, so they borrowed the underline used with
    backspace. But later, when keyboards were extended, wasn't there a backquote
    (`) usable as a grave accent over e (è) , which was probably better than
    using the complex digraph of underlined vowels?

    The underlined use of the digraph 'ai' looks like borrowing the French
    digraph for the same sound (but French also has 'è'). Such limitations of
    typewriters may mean that this was a workaround solution, and that other
    conventions may have been used as well (and possibly prefered, even if this
    possibility was less known).

    There also does not look like the 'y' is used. It could have been used to
    disambiguate the diphtong "ay", and so 'è' could be written more simply
    without underlining, but this may cause confusion. It would be interesting
    to know what happened when other technologies than typewriters were used,
    with basic ASCII only for use on terminal displays instead of typewriters,
    where underlining with backspace was not possible. So other workarounds
    would have been used. It would be interesting to know what Shoshoni used in
    that case, and how books were actually typesetted with the prefered

    > Each vowel can be long or short. Short vowels are written as above, long
    > vowels are doubled: ‘aa’, ‘ee’, ‘ii’, ‘oo’, ‘uu’, and ‘a_a_i_’ (or even
    > ‘a_a_i_i_’).

    As well, this looks like the absence of a macron sign. But if there was some
    diacritic available to denote 'è', it could have been written more simply

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