Re: Encoding of underlined characters in Carrier

From: William J Poser (
Date: Mon Sep 12 2005 - 12:13:02 CDT

  • Next message: Chris Harvey: "Re: Encoding of underlined characters in Carrier"

    The usage in my paper about the Carrier "syllabics" isn't really
    relevant, partly because it really just represents an attempt to
    get something that looks halfway right into TeX and mostly because
    it isn't in the CLC writing system. That paper uses IPA (to be
    precise "North American variant" IPA - I think I'm going to standardize
    it) along with the syllabics, not the Carrier Linguistic Committee
    writing system.

    I've vacillated as to what the correct IPA transcription should be.
    One possibility is to mark the dentality of lamino-dentals, in which
    case they would be <s>, <z>, etc. plus U+032A Combining Bridge Below.
    but at times I've felt that the laminality was the key thing.

    My point about the state of the language and the apico-alveolar/lamino-dental
    distinction was not that the distinction does not need to be encoded
    but that (a) there is no existing standard and (b) it isn't likely that
    a great deal of additional material in the practical writing system
    with this distinction marked is going to be produced, so any standard
    will be artificial. We could easily enough poll the small number of
    people who care about such things as to which diacritic they prefer
    and produce a Yinka Dene Language Institute or Tribal Council
    standard, but people would generally continue to do whatever
    they felt like anyhow, if they wrote the distinction at all.

    I know its not easy to believe for people concerned with these fine
    details, such as professional typographers and encoding specialists,
    but nobody involved with the Carrier language has ever spent any
    time thinking about such issues. The original intent, as it were, was
    "we'll write these using the underscore on the typewriter". Decisions
    as to how to translate that into the fonts available for printing
    a particular book, or into TeX, or into HTML, have been ad hoc
    decisions of individuals, based largely on convenience. In TeX and
    HTML for example, using underlining (\b in TeX, <u>..</u> in HTML)
    is a bit easier than having recourse to special characters or
    character references. I'm not suggesting that there's no point
    in choosing a standard - my point is that it isn't really the case
    that there is a an existing standard that can be discovered by
    careful study of existing texts. In this case "the truth is not out

    Bill Poser, Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania

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