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Re: OT: Conorthography aesthetics (WAS: Re: Featural code based on ...

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Monday, September 15, 2003, 21:07
On Mon, Sep 15, 2003 at 03:57:28PM -0400, Isidora Zamora wrote:
> I followed the link. I think the transcription looks fine, but I'm certain > that my husband (who doesn't know IPA) would rather learn to read the > sanoki' than the transcription if he wanted to read it. He's funny that > way :-)
[snip] OK, the LaTeX orthography is NOT an IPA transcription of Ebisedian, it's an *orthography*. I borrowed some IPA symbols mainly because the Ebisedian alphabet has 27 consonants and 9 vowels (not counting length, nasality, and pitch), and the Roman alphabet simply does not have enough letters to represent it. Also, your husband probably would prefer the LaTeX orthography if he only knew what _sanoki'_ is like. :-) In _sanoki'_, there are no spaces between words, and all punctuation are ligatures or modifications of letterforms (y'know, sorta like the medial sigma and final sigma of Greek). There are only three types of punctuation: end-of-word, end-of-sentence, and end-of-paragraph. Because word breaks are marked by using final letterforms instead of medial letterforms, line-wrapping can be done in the middle of a word (there is no such thing as hyphenation). "Paragraphs" may also be strung together with no visual break, since the paragraph break diacritic suffices to mark it as such. While this might seem benign, you have to realize that quoted discourse is embedded within a sentence, but is fully punctuated, and can be nested. Quoted discourse is marked by particles (NOT by explicit punctuation). If you're not careful, you can get completely confused about exactly what the main sentence is, or where it ends. All letterforms are either initial vowels or consonants; medial vowels are marked as diacritics over, under, or even overstriking its consonant. Consonant clusters are ligatures (but fortunately Ebisedian only has very few legal clusters), although it's probably more accurate to describe it as two letterforms "mushed" together. Also, the Ebisedi have this annoying lazy habit of omitting the stress diacritic when the word is not emphasized, leading to some rather unfortunate ambiguities sometimes. So it *is* an extremely complex script (no surprise---it was designed by Ebisedi scribes who spent more time painting frilly letterforms than actually writing material of substance). Combined with Ebisedian's exotic grammar and crazy sentence-breaking conventions, it has a lot of headache-causing potential. :-P T -- A program should be written to model the concepts of the task it performs rather than the physical world or a process because this maximizes the potential for it to be applied to tasks that are conceptually similar and, more important, to tasks that have not yet been conceived. -- Michael B. Allen