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On Fri, 30 Jan 2004 09:08:35 +0100, Benct Philip Jonsson <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>At 07:31 29.1.2004, Herman Miller wrote:
>
>>On the other hand, the Latin alphabet doesn't have nearly enough vowels,
>>and the IPA symbols for retroflex sounds are convenient. So it's possible
>>that a mixed system of mostly Latin letters with some IPA might be a good
>>compromise.
>
>And cool to boot!  Why not?  It is essentially the same as some
>African languages do.
>
>/BP 8^)

By the way, I found a link to an online copy of "Practical Orthography of
African Languages", which might be of interest to anyone else trying to
devise a Latin-alphabet writing system for their langs.

http://www.bisharat.net/Documents/poal30.htm

I found the link on Nick Nicholas's "Unicode Resources" page,
http://ptolemy.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/unicode/index.html

The "Practical Orthography of African Languages" page (or "PAOL" for short)
gives a number of reasons for avoiding diacritics in general, but some of
these (diacritic marks being likely to wear out or break off) aren't
relevant to electronic documents (which didn't exist in 1930 when PAOL was
published). A couple of the criticisms of diacritics are still relevant,
but I don't see how I can avoid them entirely. The IPA retroflex letters
look better than letters with dots under them, but they don't have
capitals, and there aren't any letters for affricates. I'll probably end up
using s and z with hac^ek for /S/ /Z/; they exist in most fonts (unlike the
IPA equivalents), and they have precedents in numerous languages. For the
same reason, c + hac^ek is appropriate for /tS/.

But what to do about /dZ/?

PAOL recommends writing it as d + ezh. In other languages, it's often
written as "j" (like English), but then /j/ has to be written as "y", and
some other symbol needs to be used for /y/. There's j with hac^ek, but that
doesn't have a capital form. Then there's the Esperanto g with circumflex,
but that's ugly.

I'd like to use "j" for palatal sounds, like PAOL uses "y" in combinations
like "ny", "ly", "ky" and so on. Zharranh has words like /CiCta/ "wind",
which would be "hyihyta" or "hjihjta". Neither of these alternatives looks
very good, but the one with "hj" is marginally better. But if "j" marks
palatal sounds, I can't use it for /dZ/: "nj" for instance would be
ambiguous between /J/ and /ndZ/.

So there's another place where diacritics might be better than digraphs:
using a "comma below" diacritic for palatals would let me avoid most of the
problems of using "y" for /j/, and the only thing I'll need to figure out
is what character to use for /y/. Precomposed "h" or "x" with comma below
doesn't exist, but diacritics below characters aren't a problem with
capitals, so either of those would be possible for /C/. For /y/ I'm
thinking of using "v with hook", which could be seen as the Greek letter
upsilon (the sound represented by "v with hook" in IPA can be written as
"vh" if it's needed). That also gets around the problem of using the Polish
hook for nasalization if I ever have a language that needs /y~/.

--
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