From: Jukka K. Korpela (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Oct 23 2010 - 07:29:04 CDT
John W Kennedy wrote:
> On Oct 22, 2010, at 10:06 AM, Győző Dobner wrote:
>> I would like to know if there is any combining diacritical that
>> can be added after vowel characters to denote vowel length as
>> distinguished from syllable length
The Unicode Standard does not specify which notation be used but just
defines and encodes characters that are used in different notations. The
most commonly used combining diacritic to indicate vowel length e.g. in
Latin texts is U+0304 COMBINING MACRON.
However, it is common, and advisable on typographic grounds, to use
precomposed characters such as U+0100 “ā” LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH
MACRON. The precomposed characters are usually more widely supported by
software, since a program just has to output a glyph as defined in a font,
instead of the fairly complex process of positioning a diacritic mark (many
programs still often fail to do such things properly—if they produce a
decent “ā”, the “Ā” may be horrendous). Moreover, a precomposed character
has been designed by a typographer, instead of being the result of an
Indicating syllable length in poetry discussions is more problematic. I have
seen a syllable‐wide macron being used for long syllables and a breve mark,
typically horizontally centered above a short syllable. This appears to go
above the level of codes characters: it is information presented graphically
as associated with text, but not as part of the text (in the same sense that
e.g. a macron on a letter is). Unicode has double diacritics that span over
(or below) two characters, but that’s really not the same thing.
> You could employ the macron for intrinsic vowel length and the
> triangular colon (U+02D0) for syllable length.
U+02D0 “ː” MODIFIER LETTER TRIANGULAR COLON is a spacing letter, not a
combining mark, and the only use of it is, as far I as I know, in IPA, where
it unambiguously denotes vowel length in pronunciation, not syllable length.
In dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference material, U+003A “:”
COLON is often used for the same purpose, but in separate pronunciation
guides or hints, not as inserted into normal text.
> I'd think most people
> would read that easily without even needing an explanation.
Hardly, but if you e.g. teach Latin, then your readers can be assumed to
know the use of macrons to indicate vowel length, if you are not writing an
elementary textbook. On the other hand, it doesn’t really take much space
and time to write a short explanation. The good rule of thumb for notations
is: use self‐explanatory notations, and explain them. ☺
-- Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Oct 23 2010 - 07:36:45 CDT