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sampi et al. (was: A funny linguistic subway experience &c)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Thursday, December 7, 2000, 21:01
At 4:34 pm -0500 6/12/00, John Cowan wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote: > >> ___ >> On the other hand, the odd letter | | | used by some of the Asiatic >> | >> Ionians may well have represented some palatal sound similar to [tS]. And >> who know what zeta variously represented in all the early dialects? > >Interesting! Ought I to propose this letter to the Unicode people for >inclusion? (The process takes real time, so if it makes sense to encode >it, then starting now is reasonable.) > >The basic criterion for including an archaic letter like this is: >do scholars or hobbyists want to include the letter either in their >own documents, or in transcriptions of original documents? IOW, if it is >solely interesting to palaeographers, then it doesn't belong in Unicode.
In scholarly books transcribing originals with this letter - mainly (or entirely) IIRC inscriptions - the letter is used. Tho it is mainly of interest to palaeographers, I have found it in books dealing with phonology (.e. Lejeune: Phonétique historique du Mycénien et du Grec ancien).
>The current Unicode Greek letters are: > >1) alpha to omega >2) all vowels with all possible breathings and/or accents and/or dialytika >3) math forms: closed beta, open theta, script kappa, ascending phi, >closed pi, > tailed rho, lunate sigma, upsilon with hook >4) kai symbol >5) archaics: stigma, digamma, koppa, sampi
The letter, whose name we don't know, was later added as the last numeral, 900, and got transmogrified into _sampi_
>6) letter yot (looks like Roman "j")
My own feeling is that sampi could be used for transcription purposes; the actual shape is needed only in contexts where this is important and, in such contexts, obviously other actual shapes of other letters would be required, i.e. Unicode would have to provide different forms of, e.g. gamma e.g. _ / /\ | \ / \ etc The latter looking, confusingly, like the lambda of other Greeks (but they wrote their lambdas differently :) But if Unicode does not include all the forms that palaeographers would be interested in (and probably that is asking for too much), what do palaeographers do when they need to use such forms in electronic media? Or should there be Unicode norms for the (main) different local alphabets used amomg the ancient Greeks before the standard Ionian alphabet replaced them when Koine replaced the local dialects? Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================