Re: Apostrophes (was Re: Exemplar Characters)

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Nov 15 2005 - 18:09:34 CST

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    > > We could choose U+2019 or we could choose U+02BC. Which one is best?
    > >
    > > I hope this question makes sense.
    > It makes sense, but it doesn't have a determinant answer.

    In fact, giving this another think, the *best* answer is to
    avoid apostrophe altogether in an orthography, period.

    Given the fact that there are perfectly decent full *letter*
    characters in Unicode for a glottal stop, not confusable with
    any punctuation mark, one of those is a far better orthographic
    choice for a glottal stop than U+2019, U+02BC, or U+0027.

    Of course the down side of this is centuries of tradition
    among users of the Latin script for tossing in an apostrophe
    for a "letter that isn't there", and the glottal stop traditionally
    got tossed into that bag because it wasn't "really" a sound or
    a letter, anyway, right?

    Furthermore, the tyranny of English typewriters (and later ASCII)
    has made apostrophe the only accepted non-A-Z "letter" that
    English speakers, in particular, would accept as an exotic
    addition to the Latin alphabet, so by default it got adopted
    into a jillion missionary and practical orthographies. Ah well.

    I still stand by my position that *if* you can convince a
    community to adopt a *real* glottal stop letter for their
    orthography instead of an apostrophe, in the long run things
    will work out better.


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