From: Jukka K. Korpela (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 21 2005 - 01:34:39 CDT
On Tue, 20 Sep 2005, Eric Muller wrote:
> Jukka K. Korpela wrote:
>> Since the letter ae, ę/Ę, popped up, I think I need to ask why it is
>> considered as a letter used in French.
> ęgagropile, ęgosome, ępyornis, cęcal, cęcum, cęsium, nęvus, nęvi, tędium
> vitę, curriculum vitę
> (Petit Robert, 1987). And it's not a ligature: Caen, not Cęn.
So it seems that the situation is basically the same as in English: words
of Latin origin (or of Greek origin, but received via Latin,
where alpha iota had become "ae") containing "ae" may (with some
exceptions, often indicated by a diaeresis in writing Latin, e.g. "aėr")
be written using "ę". There might be a difference in the sense that for
French, the "ę" spelling is preferred by authorities, whereas for English,
it's mostly just a somewhat dated-looking variant (probably mainly
appearing in British English). I wonder if this justifies making "ę" a
required character for French and not even an auxiliary character for
English, in the CLDR.
Interestingly, when I looked up some of the words in the online version of
the Dictionnaire de l'Académie, http://atilf.atilf.fr/academie9.htm ,
I found that it indeed uses the "ę" spelling, but I was able to find the
entries only by using "ae" (e.g., "caecal") in my input (e.g., "cęcal"
There's no "ę" in the French keyboard, so anyone who wants to use it needs
to learn some special way to enter it. In HTML authoring, you can write
æ, which is reasonably mnemonic, but in MS Word, I noticed that the
method Ctrl-Shift-6 a (which produces "ę" when the keyboard setting is
e.g. US English, on my computer) produces nothing when the keyboard
setting is French. Yet Ctrl-Shift-6 o produces the letter oe.
In practice, it seems that words with "ę" in their official (?) spelling
are mostly written with "ae". (Compare e.g. Google searches with
"aegosome" and "+ęgosome". Note that by Google search rules, "ęgosome"
without a plus sign matches "aegosome", too.)
> You get to decide of the usefulness of "the characters necessary to write" a
Indeed. For example, suppose someone invents some very high technology
device that - due to the requirements of the technology at the current
state of the art - supports a limited character repertoire only. If we can
trust on the CLDR data, we can just take the collection of characters
(which could be just anything) and match it against the exemplarchars
definitions, and get automatically a list of languages that can be
_acceptably_ (though perhaps not typographically perfectly) written using
those characters. Would you like to have French dropped out just because
the repertoire of the device does not include "ę"? Similar considerations
apply using a special-design font, with very artistic goals, therefore
with a limited repertoire of characters, e.g. for headings in documents.
-- Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
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