Re: FAQ entry (was: Looking for information on the UnicodeData file)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Mar 07 2003 - 10:23:34 EST

  • Next message: Doug Ewell: "Re: FAQ entry (was: Looking for information on the UnicodeData file)"

    Pim Blokland scripsit:

    > The ij is considered by some to be one letter in Dutch, and when written
    > down, an "i" and a "j" together look very much like a written y with
    > diaeresis. (See fonts like Script MT.) So I can understand foreigners
    > getting confused and encoding it that way (as a y with diaeresis). But it
    > shouldn't.

    Well, we have online a large sample of the *printed* (not script-style)
    handwriting of the well-known computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra
    (a native speaker of Dutch, though perhaps of Frisian origin?) at . Let us look
    at , which I
    choose because although it is in Dutch, it is from about 1995 when he
    was writing almost entirely in English.

    We see that although Dijkstra scrupulously separates all his other
    letters, he usually ligatures the dots of "ij" into a sort of macron
    or inverted breve, and indeed he ligatures the non-dot portions into
    something quite indistinguishable from a "y". We indeed find his own name
    written indiscriminately "Dijkstra" and "D˙kstra", showing that he thought
    of the ligatured and non-ligatured forms as the same thing. The word
    "maatschappij" even appears quite dotless, making it "maatschappy".

    John Cowan
    Please leave your values        |       Check your assumptions.  In fact,
       at the front desk.           |          check your assumptions at the door.
         --sign in Paris hotel      |            --Cordelia Vorkosigan

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