Re: Irish dotless I (was: Languages with letters that always take diacriticals

From: Marion Gunn (
Date: Wed Mar 17 2004 - 19:20:56 EST

  • Next message: Rick McGowan: "Re: Irish dotless I (was: Languages with letters that always takediacriticals"

    Chuig: "Unicode Mailing List" <>
    Scríobh "Carl W. Brown" <>:
    >What exactly are you proposing? A glyph change so that the glyphs for
    >normal dotted I be rendered without the dot, or that Irish be added to the
    >list of languages that uses the dotless I such as Turkish, Azeri, and most
    >likely the Latin alphabets for Tatar and Bashkir.
    >If it is a glyph issue that it is not part of the scope Unicode. If it
    >should really use the dotless Is then Unicode needs to be changed.

    I don't know, Carl.

    I do know my language is being badly served, however.

    Some Unicode oldtimers may recall the 'Irish long s' debate (before your
    time, Jon), when, finally persuaded that only 10646/Unicode could guarantee
    its continuance, I threw all of my company's resources into campaigning for

    That particular campaign was such a resounding 'success' we went on to
    spend thousands of quid each year, for many years, trekking one more
    encoding campaign trail after another, in support of many other languages,
    as well as our own.

    Guess what?

    We were wrong about 'long s'.

    Dead wrong.

    We didn't need that encoded in Unicode/10646 for the sake of the Irish at all.

    The possibility of using (Turkish) dotless i to ensure the current
    objective was first mooted a time when we were bogged down in the extremely
    expensive business of subsidizing the development of computerized fonts
    derived from native Irish models.

    To recap: dot above is a traditional diacritic in Irish, reserved for use
    with certain consonants (its function being served, in Roman script, by
    placing the 'letter' h after those same consonants). I suppose (with thanks
    to Antoine for reading my msg so carefully) I should add that dotting an i,
    even in Romanized text, was unusual in Irish handwriting until recently,
    presumably influenced by its prevalence in type.

    So, my question still is (having scanned dozens of Unicode responses to my
    msg this wk) our perennial, modest request of how to guarantee continuance,
    in the specific context of Irish text computing, of the traditional
    restriction of the Irish diacritic dot (having only one single function in
    Irish) to the consonants to which it belongs?

    Having worked so hard (sweating long years at other sources of income) to
    fund the price of developing fonts and attending mtgs to define not just
    individual 10646/Unicode characters, but whole character blocks within
    10646/Unicode, plus a series of 8859 sets to serve my country and her near
    neighbours, as well as at drafting some relevant IS (Irish Standards), it
    seems crazy that all that work is being thrown away (because such defined
    character sets, it seems, are no longer being used, dropped from
    referencing 'Unicode-savvy' software).

    Strikes me now as possibly disadvantageous to promote 'Unicode-savvy'
    software incapable of discriminating according to context.

    Offering such thoughts, for what they are worth, as a fine night follows a
    gloriously sunny Patrick's Day in Ireland.

    Marion Gunn * EGTeo (Estab.1991)
    27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn, Baile an
    Bhóthair, Co. Átha Cliath, Éire.
    * * *

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