Re: Greek characters in IPA usage

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Aug 13 2009 - 05:16:10 CDT

  • Next message: Andreas Stötzner: "Re: Greek characters in IPA usage"

    On 8/13/2009 1:47 AM, Andreas Stötzner wrote:
    > Am 11.08.2009 um 23:11 schrieb Asmus Freytag:
    > There's also the issue that the wrong shape is just that, a wrong
    > shape,
    > I think this case isn’t about ‘just the wrong shape”. It is rather
    > about wether to distinguish two shapes (in order to distinguish two
    > things) or not. When the IPAist comes and says “your beta shape is
    > wrong” because at 03B2 a normal beta glyph is hosted, that’s
    > ridiculous. It’s the IPAist who is wrong here.
    > because there's no contrasting use of various glyph variants of
    > these letters within IPA.
    > Yes, but Greek and IPA-Phonetic may well happen to appear side-by-side
    > in one text in which case a demand of rendering the difference of
    > Greek and Latin beta would surely have some merits. What would you do
    > then?
    It's not a question of whether there's merit in being able to display
    the beta using different glyphs for IPA and regular text. Let's all
    agree that this is useful. What I meant to point out (and others have
    confirmed) is that IPA users would view a display using the other shape
    as a glyph issue, not a character issue.
    > There *are two beta glyphs* already in the standard (03B2, 03D0). And
    > the latter has been included although it’s exactly the same borderline
    > case.
    Not really. I know that for the theta, where there are two glyphs, those
    two shapes mean something different in physics. Substituting one for the
    other in a physics paper or text book is not merely a glyph issue, but
    has become a character distinction (even though it's not a character
    distinction for ordinary Greek text). I believe the case for the beta is
    equivalent, so there are contexts where the two shapes really mean
    something different and thus it's a character issue.
    > In other words, if an unsuitable font is used,
    > The font must not be blamed for what is going wrong between
    > standardisation and user requirements.
    > the IPA will look odd, but still be readable.
    It's not been a design point for the standard to support "single font"
    display of IPA intermixed with regular text. The idea was that the IPA
    would use a font suitable for IPA (i.e. using all the shapes as best
    for IPA) while all the text portions would use a font that had the other
    shapes (and therefore is unsuitable for IPA).

    Even if your request gets accepted, you can still have fonts that are
    "unsuitable for IPA", which includes any and all fonts that don't
    contain these special glyph shapes (whether accessed via variation
    selector or not).
    > No, this is not a text data storage problem but a matter of
    > encoding-based text rendering for the human eye (also referred to as
    > “typography”).
    If it's not an encoding problem, then be satisfied using rich text, and
    separate fonts for IPA and text.

    But, clearly, what you are asking for is a way to remove the limitation
    that requires rich text to fully support mixed IPA and standard text.
    I'm prepared to accept your evidence that font designers are getting
    presssure to provide single-font solutions (in other words plain text).

    Adding a new character code for the shape is a non-starter. It would
    make all existing IPA either invalid or ambiguous. Not something you can
    do 20 years after the first draft of the standard that contained both
    Greek and IPA.

    That's why a variation selector approach seems useful - if there's
    agreement in the UTC to support single-font (plain-text) mixture of IPA
    and regular text.


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