Re: Thai v. Lao

From: Richard Wordingham (
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 11:48:25 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Thai v. Lao (was: Lao Letter Fo Sung and Lao Letter Fo Tam)"

    Philippe Verdy wrote, on Thu Oct 20 2005 - 17:03:50 CST:

    > The killer fact against unification of Thai and Lao is not based on their
    graphic appearance, but on the way the semantics and ordering of letters
    combine to create words.

    What stops one typing Lao words in Thai is a few rather minor details:

    1) No equivalent of LAO LETTER YO - Thai uses the digraph o-ang yo-yak where
    it preserves the written distinction from other similar initials.
    2) No equivalent of MAI KON.
    3) No subscript lo (isn't that deprecated?)
    4) Possibly the lack of ho mo or ho no - but isn't their use optional?
    5) Possibly the lack of subscript nyo - but hasn't that been deprecated?

    The words of a similarly reformed Thai (by abolishing redundant consonants
    and making vowels explicit where the grammar does not see a consonant
    cluster) could be written in the Unicode Lao script but for the fact that
    Lao has abolished (1975?) the letters necessary for a high /ch/ and to
    distinguish low /ch/ from low /s/. Note that one would use U+0EA3 to
    represent the original target sound [r].

    > Additionally, the Thai script is encoded visually,
    instead of logically (phonetically).

    It isn't possible to encode Thai 'logically' unless you add invisible
    characters. Just try encoding the Thai spellings of the letter names 'tho
    (nang)montho' and 'wo waen' 'logically'. (Montho = mo no-nen sara-o
    tho-montho; waen = sara-ae ho wo no.) Bear in mind that _haen_ and _nae_
    (both rising tone) are spelt the same, as are _phlau_ and _pheelaa_ (sara-e,
    pho-phan, lo-ling, sara-aa).

    Lao is encoded in the same way as Thai - e.g. the word for cat, /mE:w/ is
    sign-ei mo wo.

    > This changes randically the way one can
    create words in Thai and Lao, and so it's impossible to unify them at least
    for the modern languages.

    'This' appears to be *nothing*!


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