Re: Transliterating ancient scripts [was: ASCII and Unicode lifespan]

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed May 25 2005 - 11:10:44 CDT

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    From: "Dean Snyder" <>
    > Gregg Reynolds wrote at 4:23 PM on Monday, May 23, 2005:
    >>Dean Snyder wrote:
    >>> Buckwalter's transliteration of Arabic <
    >>> transliteration.htm> is, as are all transliterations, lossy. You cannot
    >>> tell, for example, from this transliteration that Arabic r & z are
    >>> differentiated only by a tiny dot. THAT is pertinent information in many
    >>> contexts.
    >>Huh? Latin "r" denotes the Arabic letter called ??? and Latin "z"
    >>denotes the letter called ???; where's the confusion?
    > Latin r in no way resembles Latin z; Arabic "r" & "z" are exactly alike
    > except for the tiny dot above "z".

    One could first start by reading the excellent article by Michael Everson
    (on its website) about differences in the Arabic alphabets used to write the
    5 main languages of Afghanistan (Arabic, Farsi locally named Dari, Pashto,
    Uzbek and Brahui).

    This gives a good summary of the expected differences "minor" or "major"
    differences in each language, and how they can have different representation
    of the "same" letter in these languages with distinct diacritics, and
    collation orders.

    You'll learn a lot about hamza dots, zwarakai, variants of Arabic ye, and
    related things. And in my opinion, it is a better and more precise
    introduction to the Arabic script, than what is currently found in the
    Unicode standard chapters which just discuss about the main Arabic branch.

    And all this is not for "ancient" scripts.

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