Re: Compiling a list of Semitic transliteration characters

From: CE Whitehead <>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2012 21:46:29 -0400


From: Mark Davis ☕ <>

Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2012 13:47:58 -0700

> The distinction between "transliteration" and "transcription" is limited to

> a few people. It is far better to use unambiguous terms, like "lossy" vs

> "lossless".

> Romanization (a transliteration/transcription into Latin script) in general

> can be either. Romanization of Chinese ideographs is particularly lossy,

> but romanization of many other scripts can be lossless.

> Mark <>

> *

> *

> *— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*

For Arabic Romanization, again see:

As you can see from the Wikipedia article, both the UNGEGN and the ALA-LC systems
(we used the latter I believe in my Arabic classes and in my Arabic text, which was Peter F. Abboud et. al. University of Michigan at the time I think but later Cambridge, last checked can't get into the book so I can't say about their system of rendering Arabic; it's in my locker some miles away though; but I am sure we used ALA-LC in class) have one
character or set of characters (such as kh, gh, sh) used to represent a
single written letter in Arabic (consonant or long vowel)--with the
exception of the tah-marbutah or connected t (feminine ending symbol)
that is, it is one for one; short vowel diacritics may also be
represented, making the systems almost phonemic too (I do suppose the
Arab grammarians were something of phoneticians based on symbols used);
the only problem with saying that these systems generally transcribe the
 article al- (or occasionally I've seen it transcribed as apostrophe al
with the symbols otherwise like in ALA-LC) as al rather than as a vowel
(sometimes elided to the preceding vowel) followed by whatever "sun"
letter (those letters whose pronunciation involves the tongue and roof
of the mouth) the lam consonat (the /l/ sound normally) has elided
(merged) with in cases the word following the article begins with a
"sun" letter.

 (I'm sorry I'm no longer monitoring this list; my Dad who helped me
with my ALA-LC and IPA renditions of Arabic for my thesis [he wrote the code for his little computer and daisy wheel, and I used control characters to get the code to run] would have
been fascinated by this discussion, and I was briefly interested in scripts and literacy, but I had focused on grammar and rhetoric, and right now I want to focus
on an article on the student loan program, job hunting,
health, tying up some business, and some volunteering for a school I attended; feel free to reply but I
won't be able to respond).


--C. E. Whitehead

Received on Fri Sep 07 2012 - 20:50:43 CDT

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