From: James Kass (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jan 18 2008 - 18:55:00 CST
Philippe Verdy wrote,
> Your example is significant, it shows that the diacritic used in Yoruba may
> also look like a dot below, or a dot attached like a water drop (but this
> may be an artefact of a page scan at poor resolution, where the effective
> diacritic in this case was really a dot below, or an effect of manual
> addition of these drops with inadequate ink pen used on a too absorbent
> material, where the ink filled in the gap).
> ... The good question to ask is then: what is the preferred form
> for the glyph in Yoruba?
Yes, that's a good question to ask.
The Yoruba diacritic has been somewhat controversial.
My understanding is that the official orthography dating from
the mid-1960s used the vertical line below. Available fonts in
the 1990s (such as "AfroRoman") included a dot below, which
is used in many African adaptations of the Latin script, but did
not include the vertical line below.
As a matter of convenience and in order to expedite the availability
of Yoruba text in the computing era, people simply started using
the dot below.
(Current screen shot of AfroRoman font shows inclusion of vertical
line below, http://www.linguistsoftware.com/afro.htm ... I would
have to double-check my ten-year-old copy of that font to confirm
my unverified assertion about AfroRoman's original lack of that
diacritic -- but I'm pretty sure...)
There are (at least) three schools of thought.
1) The dot below is a glyph variant of the line below, and it is
perfectly acceptable for a Yoruba font designer to put a dot
in the slot for the "under-bar".
2) The vertical line below is a glyph variant of the dot below,
and it is perfectly acceptable for a Yoruba font designer to
put a vertical line in the slot for the dot.
3) Acceptance of the dot below by the Yoruba community
represents an orthographical change. Such spelling differences
should be handled at the encoding/character level.
I'm with school-of-thought "3".
(As far as I can recall, I've only seen the water-drop shape used
on that JPN page linked earlier.)
In Yoruba, if memory serves, the "under-bar" is only used on
the letters E, O, and S. This diacritic changes the pronunciation
of the base letter. (Yoruba is a tonal language, tones are represented
by combining marks above the base.)
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