Re: Proposal to encode three combining diacritical marks for Low German dialect writing

From: James Kass (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2008 - 18:55:00 CST

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "RE: Character proposal: SUBSCRIPT TEN"

    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, ... 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.)

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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