Re: Tentative Definition of Casefolding

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 07:25:49 CDT

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    From: "Richard Wordingham" <>
    > These spellings are generally associated with having money! There's a
    > dictum that people with money spell their names as they want to, as in the
    > aristocratic 'Beauchamp' compared to the more lowly 'Beecham', or
    > 'Cholmondeley' compared to 'Chumley'. The Duke of Wellington's family
    > started out as plain 'Wesley', becoming 'Wellesley' as their fortunes rose.
    > I give you a quotation from P.G. Wodehouse:
    > "Sir Jasper Finch-Farrowmere?" said Wilfred.
    > "ffinch-ffarrowmere," corrected the visitor, his sensitive ear
    > detecting the capitals.
    >>they are speaking another language; so don't blame Unicode if this does not
    >>work with this non-English language...
    >> I'm really not sure that those slang words are so common. I ignored their
    >> existence in some vernacular variants of English.
    > They are not slang - see for example,
    > ,
    > The automatic capitalisation of proper names for title case is near the
    > boundary of what one hope to do with simple data tables. 'McGowan is very
    > difficult; 'Mackenzie' is impossible, for there are those who write their
    > name 'MacKenzie'. Dutch 'IJsselmeer' is a much better example of what can
    > be done. Other languages have difficulties with this placename - I can find
    > both of 'IJsselmeer' and 'Ijsselmeer' in English, French and German.

    Well, all this is related to proper names (people names, toponyms, and so on).

    Proper names do not belong directly to the language in which they are used, so they don't need to follow exactly the orthographic rules... despite they are sometimes adapted to it.

    For example the "Mc" prefix of Scottish proper names (and derived toponyms like the "McDonald Islands" ) is very often written "Mac" in French, but French still keeps the capitalization of the letter after this prefix, and very often detaches it with a separating space to use the normal French capitalization rules, so writing "Îles Mac Donald" would be quite common, given that the attached "Mc" prefix really looks like an abbreviation.)

    In summary, you have not demonstrated any existence of a leading double-f in French or English common words. The proper names have their own rules independant of the language, even if those rules *may* be adapted to the target language. But people have their right to insist on their written spelling and correct pronunciation.

    For example my twin brother has a first name with a Breton origin (Gurvan) and insists on the absence of nasalization of the last vowel, and on the distinctive pronunciation of the final consonant, like in other Breton first names ending in "-wann" (Erwann, and so on...) , even though its orthography (as registered at the French "État-Civil") was adapted to French. This translates his desire to be linked to the Breton culture (even though my brother does not know any sentence in the Breton language).

    A little out of topic story: I should have had a Breton first name too (instead of Philippe), if my father had not forgotten it when registering it at the French État-Civil, because he was not prepared since long to have twin children...

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