Re: Exemplar Characters

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Nov 15 2005 - 11:16:50 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Exemplar Characters"

    From: "Michael Everson" <>
    >>How does one decide? I don't think "c'h" is a contraction here.

    > The modifier letters were not part of the typographical tradition of
    > France; the apostrophe was. The letter in Breton is certainly the
    > punctuation apostrophe, and it doesn't matter if it's not a contraction.
    > It's a convention.

    No it is not. {c'h} is a single letter by itself, which was also written
    differently in past orthographies, before it was decided to use the same
    same of characters as those used in French ; this is still debated, and
    other Bretons still prefer writing it {x}.

    The alternative would have been to use a diacritic over c, like in East
    European languages, but this choice was rejected, due to lack of support on
    French systems.

    There are others that make the distinction by using {ch} instead of {c'h}
    and {sh} instead of {ch}, but I think that those using this convention do
    not live in Britanny (probably in US), as this is a rupture with many
    traditonal Breton names displayed everywhere in Britanny.

    Note that many Breton words normally written with {c'h} are written in
    French without the apostrophe, so without the phonetic distinction between:
    * {c'h} (which has no equivalent in French, but is quite near from the
    gutural German {ch})
    * and {ch} (mostly the same as in French or as {sh} in English).
    This occurs quite often for the translation of Breton proper names and
    occured since centuries for Breton toponyms (notably when French toponyms
    were standardized with many approximations and then became mandatory).

    This evolution is stopped now since the early 1970's when original Breton
    toponyms could at least be displayed in addition to French, on road
    indicators and streets plates. This occured at the same time as when the
    various regional Breton orthographies were finally unified, and a
    "reference" dictionary was created (Michael Everson knows a lot about that
    famous dictionnary) to help preserve the endangered language by unifying its
    main four local dialects in a single written form.

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