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At 09:59 +0000 28.2.2000, James Campbell wrote:

>The case conventions evolved in ?European langs/writing systems the way
>they did for good reasons -- reasons which others here know in more detail
>than do I, but they must surely include usability and aesthetics.

Agreed. The German habit of capitalizing all nouns goes a bit too far,
however, IMNSHO.

>Of course, if you're *trying* to do something different, which many
>conlangers are, then rules are there to be broken, I suppose.

Destroying readability does seem like a crap way of sticking out, though!

At 02:44 -0800 28.2.2000, Barry Garcia wrote:

>Another thing I personally don't like is using single letters for digraphs.

This is, IMVHO, an unfortunate turn of phrase, since it implies that the
English way of writing e.g. {ch} {sh} {th} is some kind of objective norm.
From an Icelandic point of view English {th} is "using a digraph for a
single letter"! Going outside the Latin alphabet those used to the Greek or
Cyrillic alphabets would probably view things this way too.

>I personally find "sh" more attractive than 'x', and ch more attractive
>than 'c'. It's all personal aesthetics really :). But, I do understand
>that those digraphs can be interpreted as aspirated sounds. I also prefer
>k to c.

Indeed. Since e.g. Sanskrit distinguishes /tSh/ from /tS/ it wd be vastly
impractical not to use single {c} for the aspirated sound. Layman's
transcriptions sometimes use {chh} vs. {ch}, which IMO is decidedly worse!

At 13:00 +0100 28.2.2000, Kristian Jensen wrote:

>But in defense of those conlangs that do this, given that ASCII is sooo
>restrictive, it is sometimes necessary. Especially if the phoneme
>inventory has sounds that otherwise couldn't be represented in ASCII _and_
>if these sounds cannot due to phonotactic constraints be represented
>through digraphs.

>Boreanesian is just such a conlang. If I wanted to post something
>Boreanesian in this list, I have two options: 1) use digraphs and
>represent epenthetic vowels, or 2) use mix-case. The first option results
>in unnecessarily long words, the second is more close to the underlying
>representation. Each option has their advantages and disadvantages.

>In the papers I'm writing on Boreanesian, I use an entirely different
>option; I stick with the IPA. But that makes it difficult to share my
>conlang electronically. To date, I have only managed to electronically
>share one of my Boreanesian essays with Dirk Elzinga. But only because he
>had the patience to use the correct program and fonts.

I am no fan of digraphs **or** IPA, i.e. I normally prefer diacritics
because they allow for far greater consistency in symbolization.. My bone
with digraphs is simply that I find the principle of "one phoneme, one
letter" attractive. WRT the IPA I'm far from convinced by the strategy of
devising a new mutation of an existing Latin or Greek letter for every
conceivable articulation -- you will soon run out of sufficiently
distinctive, not to speak of aesthetically pleasing, modifications. Greek
letters are a different case -- at least those among them that are not too
similar to any Latin letter -- since they too are the product of a long
development rather than arbitrary modifications of existing letters; the
same is also true of ligatures like "ae" and "oe". Most of the time I also
have no problem with those IPA letters that are ordinary letters rotated
180 degrees, although "schwa" looks too much like an {a} in some fonts.
Recently I also ran into the problem of having rotated {v} and lambda in
the same alphabet. When designing the uppercase letters I had to use a
rotated {Y} for uppercase lambda! :-/

Technically diacritics of course introduce the same difficulties as do new
letters. :-( When forced to use digraphs I have tried to use some letter(s)
only in digraphs, although I must admit that I find e.g. {sx, zx, cx, jx}
and similar things visually unattractive: they are only substitutes where
diacritics are not available. Another strategem is to write [h] as {'h}, so
that {h} not preceded by an apostrophe is always part of a digraph. This of
course requires that the apostrophe doesn't have other uses that
reintroduce ambiguity (e.g. if a glottal stop can occur before /h/ in the
lang.)

At 04:16 -0800 28.2.2000, Barry Garcia wrote:

>[log in to unmask] writes:
>>But in defense of those conlangs that do this, given that ASCII is sooo
>>restrictive, it is sometimes necessary. Especially if the phoneme
>>inventory has sounds that otherwise couldn't be represented in ASCII
>>_and_ if these sounds cannot due to phonotactic constraints be
>>represented through digraphs.

>Oh, I do understand those reasons (i forgot to add that in there :)). It's
>a shame that the Latin alphabet is so restrictive, then again, it was
>really intended for Latin, and not all these exotic languages :). But, I
>do admire some of the innovations like with Icelandic or Turkish. I think
>part of the reason I like simple phonologies (other than them being easier
>for me to pronounce, and finding *simplicity more elegant than
>complexity), is that it's easier to represent in the Latin alphabet
>(though, i prefer making up my own writing systems).

Me too, and when "native" writing systems don't have any upper/lower case
distinction I feel no inhibition to use "mixed-case" mappings in my fonts
fore those scripts, like assigning the dental fricatives to {T} and {D},
since this will not appear as "mixed case" when printed in the font. There
will of course be a temptation to use the roman-font mixed-case "format" as
ASCII transcription of the script...

At 09:15 -0600 28.2.2000, Daniel A. Wier wrote:

>what is the history on capitalization? I noticed that old greek and latin
>writings (such as the Bible) do not capitalize the first word of
>sentences, but do capitalize proper nouns (not adjectives).

That's the usual convention for printed Greek. I find it quite attractive.


>a hard rock bass player from the 80s once said, "you gotta learn the rules
>before you break them". amen to that.


At least if the rule-breaking is a goal in itself! :-)

At 12:40 -0500 28.2.2000, John Cowan wrote:
>Barry Garcia wrote:

>>LoOk At MeEh, I CaN TyPe In AlTeRnAtInG lOwEr AnD UpPeRcAsE LeTtErS!

>Generally known as StUdlYcAps. As distinct from BiCapitalization, which is
>the superficially similar tendency to give companies names like TechSource.

>See http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon .

In the Macintosh world BiCapitalization is kinda normative in cases where
whitespace has to be avoided. It is **very different** from studlycaps,
since its purpose is to promote readabilitI, but IMO it is often over-used
due to the strange English fear of run-together compounds. It occurs to me
that the very term "run together" is pejorative! Is there an alternative?

(Myself I prefer in-line hyphenation, since it is often more readable. As
for writing compounds as two words, an orange juice isn't necessarily
orange-juice, you know! They are also stressed differently.)

At 14:57 -0500 28.2.2000, Nik Taylor wrote:

>Actually, I take that back. Altho I prefer "c" to "ch", I also prefer "sh"
>over "x". <x> I associate with /x/, rather than /S/, and probably others
>would too, either that or /ks/, either way, most people would inevitably
>mispronounce it.

As newsreaders always do with Chinese names written in Pinyin. Rest in
peace, /'dEng 'ksiaupiN/!

At 21:22 -0600 28.2.2000, Herman Miller wrote:

>I almost always write "sh" for [S], but there was a theoretical
>possibility of confusing "sh-l" with "s-hl" in Tirelat, so I decided to
>write [S] as "x".

What about using "hs" for [S]?


/BP

 B.Philip Jonsson  <mailto: [log in to unmask]> <mailto: [log in to unmask]>
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