Re: How is the glottal stop used in some languages?

From: Chris Harvey (
Date: Fri May 11 2007 - 09:00:59 CDT

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    Ysgrifennodd Tom Gewecke – Thu, 10 May 2007 17:15:51 -0700
    >> Do users occasionally confuse the keyboard layouts, so that they type
    >> U+02BB instead of U+0027 in English texts or vice versa in Hawaiian texts?

    A quick google of Hawaiian Language shows a wide variety of apostrophes
    for Hawai‘an. Of course, in print sources, there’s no difference
    between U+02BB and U+2018.

    1) The University of Hawai‘i sites have a character U+02BB.

    2) A few have ` (U+0060) as a substitute

    3) Some use U+2018

    4) Many use a straight quote (U+0027)

    5) Some have a mix. has
    three, ʻ (2BB) ' (27) and ` (60)

    Right away, it’s clear that there is no consistency in Hawai‘ian usage.

    The case for Hawai‘ian is somewhat different compared to North American
    languages like Ojibwa because Hawai‘ian uses an opening quote for its
    glottal stop. The opening quote is graphically distinct from an
    apostrophe, so there ought to be less mixing up of Hawai‘ian ‘ and
    English ’.

    I think that for languages using an opening quote, a language-specific
    keyboard would eliminate most confusion as long as that language
    contained other non A–Z characters. If the orthography could be typed
    on the usual local keyboard layout, except for the glottal stop U+02BB,
    I would predict lots of U+0027.

    I would agree, that wherever possible, a character like ʔ (U+0294)
    makes life much easier. That said, I haven’t met many people willing to
    change their writing system to make computing simpler, nor would any of
    us suggest to people to do so. In those cases where the local community
    prefers an apostrophe of some sort, there is a decision to make. My
    experience has shown that the confusion between two visually identical
    characters is a bigger problem than the alternative (word selection,
    line breaks). In other situations, it may be the reverse.

    Chris Harvey

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