From: Doug Ewell (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Nov 17 2005 - 00:35:09 CST
Christopher JS Vance <unicode at nu dot org> wrote:
> When I learnt French as a second language the alphabet I was taught
> did not include any pre-accented characters. The only 'e' in the
> alphabet was unmarked for accents, so I would have to conclude that
> the French, like the English, consider the various accented and
> unaccented forms of 'e' to be the same letter (unlike the Scandinavian
> approach to their special letters). Of course, the French would
> consider their writing system incomplete without appropriate accents
> on 'their' words, even though they are probably just as happy as the
> English to make diacritics optional on 'foreign' words, especially if
> that diacritic didn't make a discernable distinction in the local
> pronunciation, or if the diacritic was considered strange, and not in
> normal use locally.
This is perhaps an important point. In Spanish, the n with tilde (ñ) is
definitely considered to be a separate orthographic letter, while the
acute-accented vowels are not. A word spelled without necessary accents
is misspelled, but the accented letters themselves are not distinct from
their unaccented brethren.
I say this without having checked whether "The Alphabets of Europe"
lists them as separate letters or not.
-- Doug Ewell Fullerton, California, USA http://users.adelphia.net/~dewell/
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