Re: Greek characters in IPA usage

From: verdy_p (
Date: Tue Aug 18 2009 - 15:46:40 CDT

  • Next message: Mark E. Shoulson: "Re: Greek characters in IPA usage"

    "Karl Pentzlin"
    > When discussing this, it should be also taken in consideration that
    > some letters which were Greek in first line, are used now within Latin
    > orthographies of living languages.
    > As far as African orthographies are concerned, these letters usually are
    > encoded as Latin letters with separate codepoints, like

    Is that true for the African capital Latin Esh letter, which really looks like a capital Greek Sigma (but is very
    distinct of it, and must not be confused with its lowercase counter part (that looks too much like Latin letter o
    with a hook used in Vietnamese) ?

    The Latin small esh is part of IPA, given that it does not use any capitals (however it does uses small capitals).
    IPA if it was considered as a script by itself (and fully encoded as such) would be strictly monocameral,
    contrasting with Latin

    The problem is that now we effectively have some languages that have adopted IPA symbols as part of their regular
    Latin orthography, and they now want also their associated capitals (the same also happened temporarily with a few
    Cyrillic-written languages, until these letters were added to Cyrillic itself, and the use of IPA/Latin letters
    derecommanded). Unfortunately, the case mappings are stabilized and can't be added in the UCD if the capitals are
    added, except through language-specific tailorings.

    You cannot make now the IPA script really distinct from the Latin script itself, except for a few symbols that may
    be encoded distinctly when the Latin letters are ambiguous. but even in this case, you can still avoid the complete

    Using variation selectors with Latin letters (or even Greek) for IPA purists is a good solution for me (and it has
    many practical advantages compared to new separate symbols), including for full-text searches in plain-text,
    including in legacy documents already encoded, or for font designers pressed by users that want a working single-
    font solution for texts mixing Latin and IPA, or for typography purists; we do have the working tools for them now).

    But it's true that for the Greek letters that were borrowed into IPA, I would prefer that IPA remains fully self-
    contained within the Latin script (and unified with it); and so that these IPA Greek symbols effectively get encoded
    separately as Latin letters.

    So variation selectors may effectively be used in IPA only after Latin letters, if this is needed for IPA typography
    purists, UNLESS there are contrasting uses between letter forms that are naturally unified in the regular Latin
    script (like the two forms of 'a', that should require, in my opinion, a separate encoding of the IPA "Latin small
    letter a with handle" contrasting cleanly with the IPA "Latin small letter alpha" to really avoid the rendering
    ambiguities that VS's do not solve cleanly after the regular "Latin small letter a", for example when IPA is used to
    exhibit French phonology in dictionnaries that have been created in plain text and rendered on the web with
    unpredictable fonts, even when CSS is used):

    This position is exactly the same position adopted for letter-like mathematic symbols, that were added for the same
    reasons that the use of VS do not solve cleanly, as the results of fonts and renderers used by the recipient of the
    encoded texts are unpredictable and unenforcable but still perfectly correct for rendering normal texts (notably in
    HTML or even in HTML+CSS, where the enforcement of fonts and other rendering styles also creates a usability problem
    that can be solved cleanly ONLY if the text is not ambiguous as plain-text only, without the added styles).

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