From: Michael Everson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Mar 18 2004 - 13:30:04 EST
At 11:51 -0600 2004-03-18, Unspecified (i.e.
Brian, who should really put his name in his
e-mail program) wrote:
>I disagree that the question is this simple. It is not just a font issue.
Yes, it is.
>It is a matter of the writing system being used.
The writing system used by Irish is the Latin
script. Older orthography differs from modern
orthography, regardless of whether the font has
Roman glyphs or Gaelic glyphs.
>For instance, since the spelling reform of the
>1940s, Irish has represented lenition in a
>fundamentally different way than in the
>"traditional" system--i.e., a posterior 'h' vs.
>the diacritical dot.
This is well-known to all of us. It is an
orthographic issue, not an issue of character
>Thus, the digraph <0062>+<0068> (i.e., "bh") represents the same conceptual
>object as <1E03>.
>Note that, if a selection of Irish text is set
>using one convention or the other, problems with
>spell checkers will occur UNLESS there is some
>metadata that indicates the writing system.
Script codes of ISO 15924 could be used to flag
this, if people were interested in implementing
it. Microsoft markets an Irish spell-checker (for
modern orthography), but only on the PC platform,
which is a bit of a blow to those of us who
typeset in Irish. Free spell-checkers for the Mac
are available on my web site. No spell-checkers
exist for pre-Caighdeán orthography.
>Marion's question [...] implies that "dotless i"
>and "i" are not the same character because the
>latter DOESN'T EXIST in the traditional writing
No, it doesn't. The question shows an ignorance
of the character/glyph model and the facts of the
development of writing in Irish. The dot on a
Latin letter "i" is not a diacritical mark, it is
a feature of some font styles. "Brian" and
"Bržan" are the *same* name in Irish, with the
*same* spelling. This is a different thing from
Irish "sín" vs Scottish Gaelic "sìn" which are
*different* spellings -- both differing from the
word "sin". There is not, nor ever has there
been, a third distinction between "sin" and "sžn".
>Therefore, it's not a question of what font the
>document creator chooses; it's a matter of what
>system is chosen.
You mistake orthography and glyph choice with
character identity. "Dotless i" as a *character*
is used only in Turkic languages, has nothing to
do with Irish, and never has.
To answer your question:
>In the context of a document using traditional
>Irish orthography (which does not contain "i"),
>how can "dotless i" be preserved in plain text?
It may be preserved by the use of fonts without
dots on the "i". It should not be preserved by
spelling Irish with the letter used in Turkic
language orthography, unless you don't want to
spell-check or sort the data correctly.
-- Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
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