Re: IPA and unofficial extensions

From: Frédéric Grosshans <>
Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:51:38 +0200

Le 12/04/2014 16:36, Jean-François Colson a écrit :
> I have a few questions about the IPA and about its unofficial extensions.
> In the consonant charts at
> there are a few grey symbols which are already in the IPA: ȹȸᴙꞎ.
You probably meant in Unicode

> There are also three symbols I didn’t find:
> – palatal lateral fricative (Latin small letter turned y with belt)
> – velar lateral fricative (Latin letter small capital l with belt)
> – retroflex lateral flap (Latin small letter turned r with long leg
> and retroflex hook)
> Is there a proposal including those three letters?
They are in the SIL PUA at position F267, F268 and F269 . You have more
details at ,
but the 6.2a version of it (
) does not list them as proposed to Unicode.

I could not find any proposal for them, but the related LATIN CAPITAL
LETTER L WITH BELT, used in the Alabama (Alibamu) language (aks) has
been proposed in L2/12-080 by Joshua M Jensen and Karl Pentzlin. ( ) and has been
accepted for unicode 7.0 as U+A7AD ( )

> In the suprasegmentals, I found an “extra stress” character.
> It looks like a double primary stress ˈˈ. Is that the right way to
> write it? Would a new character be required?
That is the way used to write it on wikipedia at least (e.g. here and here
). A new character does not seem to be required.

> What about the strident diacritic in the diacritics table? Is it right
> to use the tilde below twice (n̰̰ a̰̰) or would a new diacritic (combining
> double tilde below) be proposed?
I think the correct encoding is indeed two uses of the tilde below and
no new character is needed

> Voiced bilabial fricative.
> Presently, for this letter, the Greek letter β is used. The Latin
> letter ꞵ (U+A7B5 Latin small letter beta) is about to be accepted.
> Would it be used instead of the Greek letter in IPA?
> Voiceless uvular fricative.
> Presently, for this letter, the Greek letter χ is used. Phonetic
> letters for German dialectology are about to be accepted. I’ve seen in
> several proposals that it includes a Latin small letter stretched x,
> but several code points were proposed for it in several proposals and
> I don’t know where is the last one.
The last encoding is U+AB53 LATIN SMALL LETTER CHI, as you can see here . I supose
its final name folows the reasoning of this proposal which, I guess, was
following this thread of the mailing list :

> Would it be used instead of the Greek letter in IPA? The Greek chi has
> a wavy line while the streched x is very similar to and confusable
> with the standard x.

The wavy line of the greek chi is optional. In some sans-serif fonts x
and χ (chi) look exactly the same, so that Greek and Latin text blend
better together. This is, for example, the design choice taken by the
Ubuntu font (, and it makes this font difficult
to use for mathematical and phonetic texts. I feel that the stretched x
form is then more distinct, because of its different height and having
it not contrasting with x simply makes no sense to any sane typograph.

The encoding of these two “greek-latin” letter used in IPA (together
with theta) is a subject of discussion which comes every few years on
this list. The tree following blog posts from Michael Everson and John
Wells in 2010 (as well as the comments) discuss the unfortunate effect
of their unification with Latin.

Only the latin theta is currently missing, but since they it is used in
some Native american, Unifon and Rromani orthographies, it will be
integrated in Unicode in some future date. And it is indeed proposed

So some person will volontarly use the Latin version of these letters
for IPA, and I’m almost sure Michael Everson will tell you that it is
the right thing to do...

         Frédéric Grosshans

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Received on Mon Apr 14 2014 - 11:52:55 CDT

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