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On Sunday, July 21, 2002, at 11:17 , Morgan Palaeo Associates wrote:

> Ray Brown wrote:

{snip}
>> are trying to say. I was under the impression you were insisting on
>> the definition "one letter" = "one character", and that, e.g. {ch}
>> must always be two letters.
>
> No. It's just that I get frustrated [and have done so long before I
> knew about Conlang] when people state as an objective fact that
> (e.g.) in Welsh 'dd' is a single letter, without acknowledging that
> there is any ambiguity about that statement.

OK - so then if I use terms 'simple letters' & 'composite letters' in cases
like Spanish & Welsh, I think that should resolve the ambiguity.
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On Sunday, July 21, 2002, at 05:57 , John Cowan wrote:

> Ray Brown scripsit:
>
>>  And some letters with variant lower case forms. e.g. {a} and
>> {g}, have at least three different characters.
>
> Might as well inject a little standard terminology here.

Thanks - always helpful to get standard terminology.

>  The difference
> between the two lower-case "a"s or "g"s is a distinction in *glyph*,
> which means something like "abstract form", abstract because it is
> independent of font.

Right .

> Thus Latin "A", Greek "Alpha", and Cyrillic "A"
> share the same glyph; Latin "a" has two glyphs.  Exceptionally, in the
> IPA context, the two "a" glyphs are treated as different characters.

In layman's terms: two distinct letters & not variants of the same letter.
   Now,
as I understand it, it's the ambiguities inherent in the word "letter"
which
concerns Adrian, so I may as well make an effort to get terminology right.

Glyph is the abstract definition of shape.  Character refers to a
different usage?
How would you define 'character'?

> A font is a collection of glyphs with the actual images associated
> with them; modern fonts also contain a variety of devices to map
> characters to glyphs.

OK.

>> In Turkish I guess it must, since undotted-i occurs as a separate
>> letter -
>
> I think that Turkish views undotted-i and dotted-i as basically unrelated.
> I know this is true of Swedish a-umlaut and a (but not so in German,
> still less in French).

Tho I distinctly remember a photograph I saw in a book many years ago of
Atatürk himself at a blackboard showing the new Roman script to a group of
onlookers.   On one left-hand column side were {undotted-i}, {o} and {u}
and
opposite on the right were {i}, {ö} and {ü}, so there seemed to be some
sort of
idea of back ~ front vowels there.   But certainly the relationship is not
as in
German where, e.g. {o} and {ö} are not regarded, rightly so IMO, as
separate
letters but the latter is {o} with a trema showing i-umlaut
modification.   The
{ä} of Swedish is certainly a different letter/character as indeed are the
Turkish
letters concerned.

But I was commenting here on the term 'grapheme' which some people use. I
am never quite certain what they regard as the 'smallest/basic unit of
writing' is.
I do recall somewhere an argument whether lower case {i} was one or two
graphemes.

Also in the "grapheme" terminolgy, the various form of the character {a},
including
its upper case variant, are termed "allographs".   It appears from what
you say above,
that we would say an 'allograph' is a variant of a grapheme with its own
distinctive
glyph.  Or am I going wildly astray?

I would greatly appreciate your definitions of these terms.

>> The letters of our the English version of the Roman alphabet are indeed
>> all monographs.   But what are we to make of, say,  (a-e ligature)?
>
> It is a single letter in Danish and a ligature in English and Latin.
> A ligature is a glyph which represents two or more consecutive characters.

That's exactly how I understand it.

But if we can say that a-e ligature is a single letter in one language,
but a
ligature of two letters in another, then it seems to me that we can also
say
that, e.g. {ch} are two separate letters in English but a single composite
letter
in Welsh & Spanish.

I would appreciate John's observations on the above.  I shall be going
nomail
tomorrow for about three weeks, so I'll get this off quickly, hoping that
I'll
get John's reply before going nomail   :)

Ray.