Re: Exemplar Characters

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Wed Nov 16 2005 - 14:50:08 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Exemplar Characters"

    On 11/15/2005 11:13 PM, Christopher JS Vance wrote:

    > On Tue, Nov 15, 2005 at 09:52:12PM -0800, Doug Ewell wrote:
    >> I tend to think of this as a religious war. There will always be those
    >> who feel English can be written perfectly well with straight ASCII, and
    >> others who feel it cannot be written properly without curly quotes and
    >> arrows and symbols and at least four types of dashes and every Latin
    >> letter used in a loanword or name that appears in an English sentence.
    >> [1] These two groups will never agree on what the "exemplar" characters
    >> for a given language are.
    Because of the fact that there's not a clear definition or clear usage
    against which these sets can be measured.

    > The letters taught as their alphabet (or other type of repertoire) to
    > school students with that first language would prima facie be correct.
    > It's up to the speakers of the language concerned to decide whether
    > something is a letter or letter-plus-accent, and we know these
    > decisions are inconsistent between languages, and sometimes even in
    > the same language across time.
    That would be a terrible choice. In Germany the letters with umlaut may not
    be taught as separate letters, ditto for the sharp-s. While practice may
    most people on the street would agree to a sentence like "the alphabet has
    26 letters", and would look funny at you if you came with 30.

    In Scandinavia, the situation is different, here, they teach A-Ring,
    A-umlaut/AE, and O-umlaut as letters, but all they also use accents
    to mark stress on certain native words where it helps to disambiguate,
    between a stressed and unstressed occurrence of the same word,
    (a bit like English texts that might use italics to correctly catch the
    for a transcribed spoken sentence). These accented letters are never
    found in educational listings of an alphabet. Yet they are clearly part
    of the standard orthography and not optional in the same way as the
    spelling of naive with and without an accent in English.

    So, at best, you can get a lower bound from these teaching aides.


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