Re: Exemplifying apostrophes

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Mon May 19 2008 - 02:29:25 CDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "RE: Exemplifying apostrophes"

    Hello, Chris,

    While it's correct, that one glyph character should be used, whether it
    means glottal stop or mid-centralised vowel, etc, etc, I do believe that
    using the modifier letter apostrophe is more appropriate, as opposed to
    using right single quotation mark for contractions. Why do I think so?
    It's about character identity, and the point that was brought up before:
    class (letter vs. punctuation) is an important one.
    Also consider, that character identity is a major concept of unicode.
    Reflecting your view, one should use U+0041 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A for both
    greek and cyrillic (additionally to latin), as you claim: "In my opinion,
    this should be
    [the same codepoint for all uses], as one cannot expect users to recognise
    that ' is one character
    in one language, but a different character in a different language."
    For the matter of digraphs, I think the modifier letter apostrophe should be
    used. The reasons are twofold. a) again, it's not a punctuation. b) i) if
    you see it as a digraph, you constitute the second part to be a letter as
    well ii) if you see it as a kind of spacing diacritic, then again, this is
    the sign in analogy to use with the spacing ogoneks, spacing circumflexes
    etc, etc in the same block.

    _Of_course_, research is necessary to determine which writing tradition
    prefers which form. There are languages that use apostrophe-like, but
    non-apostrophe-form characters, such as a left single quotation-mark formed,
    or a mirrored right single quotation mark formed, vertical form, prime form
    or "typewriter" form.
    The above distinction of using modifier letter apostrope only holds for
    those, where its identity as such has been established. Without knowledge of
    the underlying writing tradition "normalising" or uniformising different
    apostrophe-like letters to one is uncareful. (As if you were "normalising"
    greek beta for sharp s).


    2008/5/18 Chris Harvey <>:

    > Ysgrifennodd Eric Muller 2008/05/17 6:31 ᴘ.ᴍ.:
    > > In the particular case of U+0027, and for the UDHR, most of the uses
    > > should probably either U+02BC ʼ MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE or U+2019 '
    > > RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK. Lorna Priest kindly sent me a list of
    > > languages which are known to use an apostrophe to write a glottal stop,
    > > but I have not had time yet to fold that in the texts.
    > I still don't see any reason why the phonological value of a character
    > should determine its encoding. This is not the case for other
    > characters: a b c.... Whether ' represents a glottal stop (Mohawk), a
    > centralised vowel (Mi'gmaq), part of a digraph/trigraph... t' (Dogrib),
    > c'h (Breton), tth' (Chipewyan), or an elision (English won't), it
    > should always have the same encoding. In my opinion, this should be
    > U+2019, as one cannot expect users to recognise that ' is one character
    > in one language, but a different character in a different language.
    > On another note, some languages, like Kwak̕wala prefer U+0027 over any
    > curly variety. Normalising ' to ' in this case would be an error.
    > Chris Harvey

    Szelp, André Szabolcs
    +43 (650) 79 22 400

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