From: Asmus Freytag (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 17 2009 - 16:25:24 CDT
On 8/17/2009 1:30 PM, Andreas StÃ¶tzner wrote:
> I found the elaborate contributions from Asmus Freytag, Michael
> Everson and Julian Bradfield most valuable. I wished the phoneticians
> and IPAists would take notice of the amount of trouble we embark on
> here to do *their* business â€¦
> Last but not least, this is not a question of typographic *geekness*.
> Itâ€™s a systemic issue: are phonetic Î², Î¸ and Ï‡ the same characters as
> the Greek Î², Î¸ and Ï‡?
> I think, beyond glyph shaping details, it all comes down to this
> simple question.
Well, for 20 years, more or less, Unicode has explicitly claimed they
are. Millions of documents exist that use Unicode-encoded IPA. An untold
number of them uses one or more of these three characters. Thousands of
users have figured out some way to enter these characters, presumably,
in many cases, by using Greek keyboard layers. Then there are the common
tools they use to search, sort and otherwise process such data.
Because of that, the question is no longer as simple as you state it. No
longer can you simply focus on the ideal situation, but you also have to
consider what will happen to all of these existing documents, as well as
to the existing user base, and the tools they use.
By the seemingly innocuous fact of adding new character codes, you are
also changing the identity of the existing character codes. But habits
of 20 years die slowly, so you can expect that some significant section
of the user community will continue the old characters for new work
(while all the old documents will survive unchanged).
Your simple question needs to be restated:
What is more appropriate:
a) continue as before
b) a disruptive continuity
c) a less disruptive encoding that embodies a clean fallback
My vote is for "c" (realized via VS). In my take, the "latinization"
of these characters in the IPA context is primarily a typographical
issue. There's little else that distinguishes them from ordinary
alphabetical characters that are simply part of a special notation. They
are not used in contrast with other shapes of the same letters. Using a
VS allows that to be expressed, retains compatible support for all
tools, and users who coninue in the old ways are "punished" by poor
typography rather than by failed searches.
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