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Those darn curly subscripts (was: More orthographic miscellanea)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Saturday, September 11, 2004, 18:06
On Friday, September 10, 2004, at 08:42 , John Cowan wrote:

> Ray Brown scripsit: > >> But the rounded front vowels were not denoted by o-umlaut & >> u-umlaut in Azeri and |?| (s with comma or cedilla) was not, according to >> my sources, introduced to Azeri until the 1933 reform which was _after_ >> the adoption of the Roman alphabet by the Turks. The letter was already >> in >> use in Romanian and this must surely have been the source its adoption in >> Turkish. > > If it were so, the Turks would surely have adopted it in the form > of s-comma-below rather than s-cedilla. So while the Romanian usage > probably accounts for the pronunciation of Turkish s-cedilla, it seems > to me unlikely to be the immediate source of its form.
But it would surely have been very strange to have two diacritics which look so similar and not treat them the same way. Romanian has no |ç| (c-cedilla), so putting a comma below |s| and |t| is quite consistent. But have a cedilla beneath |c| and a comma beneath |s| would be a tad odd. Even if the Turks had done this, all but the pedantic would surely have actually written the things the same way. Of course the Turks could have regularized things by putting a comma under both |c| and |s|. But c-cedilla was well established (a Spanish invention, tho the Spanish no longer use it, adopted by the French in the 16th century), so making both diacritics cedillas seems to me to have been the obvious thing to do. ========================================================================= On Friday, September 10, 2004, at 09:53 , Paul Bennett wrote: [snip]
> OTOH, it's easy to me to see {s-comma} as {s-squiggle}, and given the > existing squiggle in {c-cedilla}, the use of {cedilla} for the squiggle > under the |s| would seem to me a logical jump to make. Most print in > newspapers and books is small enough to make the difference trivial
Exactly!! ========================================================================= On Friday, September 10, 2004, at 10:04 , Trebor Jung wrote: [snip]
> I was under the impression that the terms "cedilla" and "comma" are > synonymous, just that "cedilla" means the diacritical mark used in French, > Turkish, Polish, etc.,
Polish? Presumably you must be referring to the ogonek which may be put under |a| or |e| to show nasalization. The ogonek is certainly not a cedilla; it the hook is in the opposite direction to that of either a comma or a cedilla!
> and "comma" means the symbol when used as a > punctuation mark.
No. Both the comma symbol and the full-stop/period symbol are found used as subscript diacritics. I was aware the Romanians used the comma under |s| and |t|, but the similarity of _s-cedilla_ and _s with subscript comma_ seemed close enough to suggest Romanian as inspiration for Turkish s-cedilla. ========================================================================= On Friday, September 10, 2004, at 11:35 , Muke Tever wrote: [snip]
> The cedilla is comma-shaped. The choice of the term "cedilla" versus > "comma" appears to refer to whether the diacritic's preferred position is > attached to the letter by a short stroke (cedilla) or not attached (comma) > .
Yes, that's basically it; and the ogonek is sort of like a _reversed_ comma and it is attached to the vowel without any short stroke. ========================================================================= = On Saturday, September 11, 2004, at 01:33 , John Cowan wrote: [snip]
> There are cedillas that are comma shaped and attached, but that is > not the preferred shape in French typography, and it's downright > taboo in Portuguese.
I agree the 'curly bit' is preferably not exactly like a comma; but...
> The normative cedilla has a vertical descender
Normative? Who sets the norm? I must admit that most cedillas I've seen have the stroke slanting thus / The word is Spanish for "zedlet" (or "zeelet"), i.e. little zed/zee. It did begin its life as a small hand-written Z, something like ʒ, beneath the C, so the slanting descender makes historical sense.
> followed by a rounded shape with the upper left quadrant missing.
Ray =============================================== =============================================== "They are evidently confusing science with technology." UMBERTO ECO September, 2004


Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@...>
John Cowan <cowan@...>
Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>