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

From: Jonathan Rosenne <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 11:51:07 +0300

Google is your friend – some clues:




From: [] On Behalf Of Stephan Stiller
Sent: יום ו 05 יולי 2013 11:25
Subject: Re: writing in an alphabet with fewer letters: letter replacements


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 - 03:53:10 CDT

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