From: verdy_p (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Sep 07 2009 - 20:13:46 CDT
> A : "firstname.lastname@example.org"
> Copie à :
> Objet : RE: Visarga, ardhavisarga and anusvara -- combining marks or not?
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Shriramana Sharma
> > To my mind, a combining mark is *usually* (though not always) something that
> > qualifies what is represented by a base character.
> Nothing in Unicode dictates what function in relation to reading or linguistic
> interpretation a combining mark should have.
Yes, but I still think that the main justification of the classification of a character as a combining mark (spacing
or not) must be looked for within collation, i.e. the top-level of analysis of text, where some differences are
considered less essential and then not given primary weights for searches, sorting, or variations of orthographies
according to author's needs or intended rendering style (which may be simplified to not exhibit these differences).
You'll still find some languages where these differences are essential, but the concept most often remains that the
combining marks are logically grouped with a base letter that they often (but not always) follow and with which they
must be analysed as a single entity when it is present.
But I agree with you: a combining mark does not necessarily qualifies explicitly the base letter after which it is
written, it may qualify larger entities (such as clusters of base letters, or a full syllable, or a full word, or
even a full phrase, or it may be used to convey some other notations, for example in poetic verses, or songs, or to
signal other things to the readers, such as the place where some ritual events can occur: start singing, change the
locutors..., or to convey other added analysis notations on top of text, without actually changing it, or its
semantics or linguistic interpretations or phonetics realizations).
So when they are used, they normally do not modify the primary level of analysis of text (in its simplest form),
even if they are positionally bound to it. the y may or may not affect the semantic to create extra distinctions in
some contexts (but not all: think about crossword grids and many letter games such as Scrabble(tm), Boggles(tm), the
hanged man game, anagrams... where they are rarely significant and not represented at all, but where the words are
still readable and keep strong enough semantics and orthographies for validating the admissible words according to
the rules of these games).
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