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the Ge'ez (Ethiopic) script, adapted for Tech -- part I

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Sunday, September 5, 1999, 2:50
This is a very crude page I got at my site, describing the fidel of Ethiopic
script used to write the classical Ge'ez language along with the modern
Ethiopian/Eritrean languages Amharic, Tigrinya, Gurage, Chaha, Agew, etc.

The page is one huge table in Unicode (UTF-8 encoding), so you must have a
Unicode-ready browser.  Of course, the latest versions of Netscape and IE
can use Unicode, provided you got a 32-bit OS (Windows 95, 98, NT).

To view this page, you need the GF Zemen Unicode font, which you can
download from Indiana University.  It's freeware, and a MUST HAVE if you're
into Ethiopic computing.  (More important than you might think; Amharic is
after all the second most spoken Semitic language.)

(download the file called gfzemenu.ttf and save it in \Windows\Fonts;
also check out gfsetup.exe for excellent 8-bit fonts)

After you're through installing, visit my page:

(Make sure your browser is set to Unicode and the GF Zemen Unicode font.)

Before you look at the mess, I have some things to straighten out.

Firstly, _fidel_ is the Ethiopian name for the script.  It has nothing to do
with a certain Cuban leader.  ;)

Second, this chart is really piecemeal.  The font I found only accommodates
the symbols commonly used in real-world Ethiopian languages.  Tech has a LOT
more.  Also, the consonants and vowels shown are according to their Tech
values, which are a good bit different from the aforementioned Ethiopic
languages.  Also, the Latin equivalents given for consonants and vowels I
attempted to make as close to IPA symbols as I could, but some of them
require a bit of explanation.

A note about two of the vowels: i and u barred, the high central vowels, are
really C and Cw with no vowel, but when marked with a vowel length mark
(which I have yet to devise) they take on their listed values.  Also, ae and
oe ligatures as short unstressed vowels carry the allophonic values _shwa_
and rounded-_shwa_ (o-barred) respectively.

Now the consonants: most of the Latin codes are according to their IPA
values, with a few exceptions.  Note the frequent use of the apostrophe to
mark ejective ("emphatic") stops/affricates and other things.  I'll just
explain the values of all of 'em:

h, l, m, r, s, q, b, v, t, x, n, k, w, z, d, g, ts, f, p: as their IPA

h': "emphatic" h, the voiceless pharyngeal fricative

s-caron: "esh", voiceless postalveolar fricative

tl: voiceless lateral fricative (Welsh ll) or affricate (Nahuatl)

q', k', t', p', ts': ejectives

tj, j, dj, tj': "t-esh", "ezh", "d-ezh", ejective "t-esh": postalveolar
fricative and affricates (with extended Latin characters, c-hacek, z-hacek,
g-hacek, and c-hacek-' would work better)

n-tilde: "eng" (velar nasal), or its palatal equivalent

' alone: ? (glottal stop)

`: reversed ? (voiced pharyngeal fricative)

dl: voiced lateral affricate or fricative (Navajo or Zulu dl)

g': small caps G (voiced uvular stop/fricative)

rj: Czech r-hacek (sort of a "rzh" sound)

After the syllables, the punctuation mark.  The two-dots (resembling a
colon) is a wordspace, which is optional and used more for formal documents.
  The four-dot square is a full stop (period), and you go from there.  Note
the colon with dash extending rightward is a special colon, called a
"preface colon", which I transliterate as a bullet circle.

Then you have the numbers.  A major change here: the digits 1
(teardrop-shaped) thought 10 (vertical line) are the same as in Ge'ez, but
the numbers 20 (K turned 90 degrees right) through 100 (P-like symbol) and
10,000 (two joined P's) have completely different values.  Since Tech is a
vigintesimal (base-20) language, these symbols become the numerals 11
through 20.  (However, the symbol for 20 is never used except to denote the
numbers 20-39 alternatively, not in large numerals -- in modern numeration,
an additional symbol for "zero" is used, which is not included in the font I
used; it's a circle (numeral "four") with a slash).

Anyway, just a start of what Tech is gonna look like, as well as a primer in
Ethiopic writing.  This happens to be one of my favorite scripts, and would
be of special interest to those interested in African history and culture --
it's the most used script indigenous to Africa; I'll post soon on some other
sub-Saharan scripts, and Bassa and Vai are of special interest to me.

More later...


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