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CHAT: Dutch & Cyrillic

From:Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Date:Friday, April 12, 2002, 7:50
--- J Y S Czhang wrote:

> Sci-Fi idea: an alternative future in which a > Dutch-Nordic Alliance colonize space (what do you > expect from a SuperNation based on maritime power, > cultural pluralism, and progressive socio-political > ideology?)
Great idea, indeed. I have always dreamt of being President of the Universe!!! But I somehow doubt it, since we are a SuperNation with a strong collective minority complex... Sigh! I'm afraid it will be America or China, after all.
> Just a bit ago IIRC there was much "Slavic/Cyrillic > activity"... I found this interesting bit of text > deliberately underlined in the Berkeley class-notes > a female Russian friend gave me: "The advantage of > spelling in Cyrillic lies mainly in its greater > versatility, derived from the fact that its alphabet
> has more letters than Latin, and that diacritical > marks are therefore required less than in Latin > transcriptions or transliterations"
I'm afraid I disgree with your female Russian class-mate. Look at the following differences: - Latin script is used by much more languages than Cyrillic, and deals with them well. - When a Cyrillic-writing language has a "special" sound, it tends to make up a new character, or to modify an existing one. We use diacriticals, true, but what's wrong with them, eh? It's not for nothing, that they are so popular among conlangers! Besides, the kind of strokes you see in some Cyrillic alphabets (f.e. k-stroke) could be considered diacriticals, too. - As an alternative for diacriticals, many Latin alphabets work with letter combinations assigned to special sounds. Cyrillic alphabets tend to avoid this. - Are there so many more Cyrillic characters than Latin? Look at the Russian alphabet and remove those letters that don't have their own sound (je, jo, ju, ja - they just modify the preceding consonant, and make a "j" when there is none; the hard sign, because it serves no other purpose than undoing this modification; the shcha, because it is just a combination of "sh" and "ch"). If the compare the result to f.e. English, you will notice that Cyrillic deals very well with spirants, but in all other fields its performance is much worse. Conclusion: only for a very specific kind of languages the Cyrillic script would be better. But then, following the quotation, wouldn't it be better if we all started to use Armenian or Georgian script? Jan ===== "You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." --- J. Michael Straczynski __________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Everything you'll ever need on one web page from News and Sport to Email and Music Charts