Re: writing in an alphabet with fewer letters: letter replacements

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2013 01:25:19 -0700

Hi Richard,

>> I know of standards for transcribing foreign alphabets (by /target/
>> locale – Are they relevant here? If so, which?) [...]
> This may well depend on both source and target locale! How often
> will locale have to be broken down on a non-local basis? Different
> newspapers in the same city may have different conventions!
It also depends on the time/era, and sometimes there's just a mess. I
recall the chaotic variation in the rendering of names of Eastern
European composers in German (and that of foreign names in general). And
I think it's futile to try to precisely describe journalistic practice
in this domain.

What I had in mind was more specific: Germans are supposed to convert
[ä,ö,ü,ß] to [ae,oe,ue,ss], though I don't know what's considered
best/legal wrt documents required for entering the US, for example.

I was thinking that there might be a similar Icelandic tradition of
mapping non-{A, ..., Z}-letters into the {A, ..., Z}∪punctuation space,
for the purpose of filling out forms in another country and such. In
that regard, I was wondering whether any of the numerous transcription
schemes that are floating around (and are sometimes backed by
standardization bodies) play a role here and are prescriptive or (if
they are not prescriptive) followed to some extent.

> For example, there is a Romanian tradition of converting
> combining squiggle below to a following 'z'.
"squiggle" – you're reminding me of /that other thread/ going on right
now ;-)

> drop all the accents
That (more generally: finding a root / approximation / approximating
digraph) might be the most common method (my wild guess based on casual
observation, and it's not exactly a particularly difficult guess to
make), but for ð/þ it's not clear what people will do. I'll save the
list the obvious speculation and let someone who knows answer directly.

Received on Fri Jul 05 2013 - 03:27:45 CDT

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