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A little bit about Thagojian typography (WARNING: Unicode)

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Sunday, May 15, 2005, 21:19
Probably more suited to the LLL, and I may well do that after some extra
work crowbarring footnotes and bibliography into it.

I have it in PDF in case the Unicode gets mangled along the way, if I can
find somewhere to host it.

The Mark of Following

The μηρϣηπερיν ϝποκיδיπ (/mEr\ZEper\7n upok2d2p/) or "mark of following"
seems to be the only diacritic in Thagojian, although its realization
seems to vary from text to text. The oldest form seems to be a macron, but
by the latest documents a circumflex is pretty universal, with the
majority of exceptions being inverted breves. Along that path, though,
variations include a dot, a trema, a tilde, a vertical bar, a vertical
tilde, and many other symbols. Also found in a small number of documents
is a letter-stacking form, reminiscent of medieval documents in Europe.
Note that any given style is found consistently throughout any given
document, and indeed apparently consistently through the works of any
given scribe, so there can be no doubt that the same, single mark is being
represented by a variety of graphical forms. It is plausible that the
patterns of usage could be reconstructed to give an idea of distinct
scribal schools or traditions, but such an effort has not yet been

In the most general and prevalent case, the mark is found above the close
vowels ι, υ, and ϝ, to indicate they're asyllabic, and this combination is
conventionally romanized y, ÿ and w. In the oldest documents, the mark is
only found when the close vowel immediately follows another vowel, i.e. as
a falling diphthong. This usage spread quite quickly to mark all
consonantal uses of these vowels, and apart from the confusion over the
graphical form of the mark, the situation was stable for a long time.
Towards the end of the Thagojian documents, however, the mark began to be
used in previously unexpected places. The most prevalent of these, for
which there are a significant (but not overwhelming) number of examples,
is over α, in later borrowings from Hebrew, apparently to show ע. In
earlier documents, ע is borrowed as ńayn (that is, as /ŋ/). This graphical
change seems to show a sound change in Thagojian (or possibly Hebrew?)
followed by an attempt to represent borrowings that occurred after the
change. Note that in the majority of cases from the later period,
newly-borrowed ע is simply omitted, so this change in writing cannot have
been generally accepted. Of further note, there are — also in the later
period — a small number of sporadic usages of the mark with ε (some of
which appear to mark א) and one single example with χ, about which very
little can be determined.



Steg Belsky <draqonfayir@...>