Re: The Geejay

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Jan 03 2008 - 14:01:47 CST

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "RE: The Geejay"
    On 1/3/2008 10:57 AM, Peter Constable wrote:
    From: [] On
    Behalf Of Asmus Freytag
    On foot of the shape of the letter I would consider encoding it as
    the capital form of U+0261, as LATIN CAPITAL LETTER SCRIPT G.
    Surely not considering the presence of the dot.
    This is total an utter nonsense. What one encodes is always the
    *identity* of the character...
    I agree on that.
    In this case, the character was used for a
    Here, I start to diverge as your statements seem to tie the character identity a little *too* closely to its function in a given usage (albeit probably the only usage). (That may not be your intent; I'd guess it is not.) I think it's fair to say that character identities in Unicode are generally based on their structure more than their function(s).
    What I had intended here was to suggest a derivation. After all, this is not a traditional character, but one invented for a particular purpose - my assumption is that the intended purpose was limited. If anyone can unearth examples that show that this assumption is not warranted, then those of my conclusions based on that particular assumptions would have to change.

    The purpose for which this character was invented, furthermore, is not a system directed at specialists, but at lay people. It therefore has much in common with characters such as 1D7A.
    The phonetic notation that this artificial letter is a part of, is an
    example of a common device used for such purposes, i.e. a system that
    uses, as much as possible, notations that are close to what the lay
    reader is familiar with, adding a few signs and diacritics to mark
    sounds not found in the readers native language...
    The example for /juge/ makes clear that the Gj is used "as a /unicase/
    or caseless letter" as Andreas writes. He continues "It is questionable
    wether to speak of it as a ligature" and I would agree. The intent here
    is not to combine the sounds of a g and a j but to denote a sound that
    ordinarily is written with either a 'g' or 'j'. The choice of uppercase
    G for deriving the glyph seems designed to let this letter stand out
    make both of the constituent sources of its glyph apparent to the lay
    I agree that was the intent, but I'm not sure how significant the intent should be to the character identity. 
    In a single-use notational system, intent carries a different weight than for characters that have found wider use, or those that can be considered 'traditional'. Examples of the latter often include characters that undergo successive evolutionary steps before settling on a more or less well-defined final shape. (Cf. the modern "Arabic" digits, (European digits, in Unicode terminology) which evolved considerably during the process of their adoption.)
    The form of the character was obtained by combining "G" and "j". Just as 00E6 "ae" was obtained by combining "a" and "e", as A727 "small heng" was obtained by combining "h" and eng, as 0238 "small db digraph" was obtained by combining "d" and "b", and as 0153 "small oe ligature" was obtained by combining "o" and "e". The character identity in this case should take follow the precedent of such cases.
    I'm not sure I understand what you are saying here (and the "should take follow" phrase is particularly obscure ;-) )

    Incidentally, the examples you cite all seem to be contractions of multiple letters, whereas the genesis in this case was an "either/or". In the case of AE and OE, you could argue whether the "E" was viewed as a modifier or as an indication that the quality of the vowel was between that and the "E". The latter interpretation would make it more similar to the kind of genesis that I assume for the Geejay.
    Thus, the concept of case does not apply, and, as the character has not
    found its way into any existing "orthography", there's little pressure
    to innovate in that direction.
    I agree.
    Whether IPA or any other phonetic
    notations use glyphs based on some decoration of the letter 'g' or 'G'
    for the same sound is irrelevant - unless one can show a relation by
    derivation. For obvious reasons G just happens to be a natural choice
    represent such sounds.
    If it's deemed important to encode the character to be able to encode
    such dictionaries as originally published, then go ahead and encode
    *that* identity. Don't invent something new.
    Well, we must invent to the extent of devising a name; but I think you mean, as I would suggest, that requires only a minimal amount of innovation in this case -- much less than inventing a casing relationship with small letter script g.
    The 'invention' I was referring to also included the claim made for the permissible glyphic variation of the character. Absent any evidence in that direction, a glyph that is *not* based on the superposition of G and j is not a representation of the character as found in the historical record. Considering this character to be "just" a decorated G seems wrong.

    That said, *iff* this character had seen wider use, alternative glyph shapes *might* have evolved. But as there is no evidence, the identity of the character is not generic, but specific to the form used in the Toussaint-Langenscheidt system.

    Character naming is often based on shape, so


    would be a fine name, by the way, but LATIN LETTER GEEJAY would serve nicely and circumvent any case imputation.


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