Re: Fwd: Character Identity and Font Selection

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2011 23:52:06 -0700

> Clearly, IPA has a similar relation to Latin (even in your example!)
> as Cyrillic to greek or Latin to Greek.
Erhh, "a decent part of Latin is a subset of IPA" is a statement I'd
agree with more.

> not to mention that no linguist wants to use exotic input methods
> for common sounds and typesetting non-standard characters has
> always been tricky
> What you describe very much sounds like a problem of input methods,
> rather than character encoding.
Yes. In practice this has always been a huge pain. The more
computer-literate ones among the linguists define their own shortcuts. A
well-known and good example is the file by phonologist Bruce
Though recently this online keyboard has gained popularity:

> A final issue is that linguists are notorious for inventing new
> transcription symbols informally.
> Yes, and once these informal signs are for whatever reasons
> wide-spread enough, they might be included in Unicode. That's also
> now, independently of the script-identity of IPA issue, how it works
> right now.
As far as I understand, with the readily-available combining accent
marks (and the occasional linguist bothering with LaTeX for similar
purposes), people mostly use what's there, but in a creative way.

> That block would be getting updated a lot in parallel with the
> Latin block or lots of Uniciode machinery would need to be added
> if the scripts were formally separated.
> Why would the block be updated in parallel with Latin? I doubt any
> more plain Latin characters would be added to IPA. And if so, then the
> Latin block would not be updated. What you describe corresponds to the
> unlikely scenario, that one invents an ad-hoc character, it becomes
> widespread, and it does not only become part of official IPA, but of
> some Latin orthography as well... Yeah, this happens all the time.
Note that after the huge amount of work Ladefoged has done on
discovering "all the world's languages sounds" and judging from the fact
that the IPA hasn't recently been adding a lot of characters (well,
there were a handful during the past decade), I don't think there will
be many additions. (Unless Unicode, at some point, decides to encode
canIPA.) Ladefoged was clearly the world expert, but not all his
personal symbols are in the IPA. The IPA requires that a symbol be
useful for not just one language here or there.

Received on Sat Jun 11 2011 - 01:55:55 CDT

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