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Re: A Proposition

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Thursday, March 22, 2001, 14:20
En réponse à David Peterson <DigitalScream@...>:

> You know, we're all trying to write to each other with things that > sort > of represent different versions of the IPA, and it's really confusing > (at > least to me). I have a solution (that is, if everyone is writing from > either > a Mac or IBM clone). There's this website: > > <> > > It's called Dr. Berlin's Foreign Font archive. Aside from having every > script known to man (except Klingon), it has IPA fonts. There are two. > The > first package (the SIL package) has three fonts which have easy access > to all > the symbols. It's the best IPA font there is. But, the other package, > which > has one font (Kansas University Linguistics IPA; it'll show up as > Kuldipa) is > fantastic in another way. In it, you can write all the Roman characters > (upper and lower case, numbers and punctuation), AND all the IPA > symbols. > The only drawback is that the IPA symbols are in weird, out of the way > places. Nevertheless, if you're willing to learn how to use it (you can > even > make a little chart as to how to make what characters; I did myself), I > think > it could greatly improve our communication if we all wrote in that font. > If you go to the website and download the font, it will be in > Windows > format. If you're a Mac user (like me), they have a font converter > program > called "TTF Converter", I believe, and all you have to do is drag the > font > over the icon and it will change any Windows font into a Mac, suitcased > font. > It's wonderful. Anyway, this is my idea, and I think it would really > benefit us all if we at least tried it. > > -Jenesis >
There is more than one drawback with this proposition. First, many of us around receive e-mail in 7-bit ASCII, which means that they receive correctly only the first 128 characters of the ASCII chart. Second, even among the people (like me) who can receive 8-bit ASCII, there are so many different e-mail programs and such which make so many different things with the 127 remaining characters that 8-bit ASCII posts can be completely mangled and unreadable (depending on whether I read my e-mail on a Mac or a Windows computer, I often get different things, and depending on the sender it is not always the same computer which mangles things). Third, I don't know about you but I cannot read e-mails using multiple fonts. One post has to use only one font or I just cannot read it. Fourth, there are people (like me) who don't own a computer (sorry, I'm much too poor for that) and thus use shared computers to read their e-mails, computers on which they cannot download any font because it's forbidden by the administrator (that's my case at least). For all these reasons resorting to other fonts is not a good idea, as we can't all have access to it. So until Unicode is present everywhere, even in e-mail, we have to stick to the ASCII, and write IPA with what is called a system of IPA-ASCII transcription. There are already people who have thought of this problem and made different transcription systems (see for a review of the most common schemes) and on the list we commonly use the SAMPA system (or a variation of it, for instance changing /}/ to /&/ to represent the IPA ae-ligature) or more rarely the Kirshenbaum system (they are pretty similar anyway). You can see them on the URL I gave you and thus won't be left behind when we transcribe IPA into ASCII. You'll see, when I arrived on this list I knew nothing about the transcription systems and was as lost as you, but it's easy to learn, if you already know the IPA of course.
> P.S.: I decided to do a quick rundown of my first language (the one I've > been > working on since last November), and, by doing some estimating (my > dictionary > has entries by triconsonantal root, so I counted up the roots, estimated > 5-7 > lexemes per root), my first language (called Megdevi) has 3,855 words > (low > end) to 5,335 words (high end). The document itself on my computer is > about > 110 pages long. And I used the Kansas University font for the whole > thing > <plug> >
Wow! I wish one of my languages had such a dictionary! Unfortunately, growing lexicons is very boring to me and usually my langs end up as a full-fledged grammar with a poor 200-words lexicon :( . Moten which is most developped has only 600 entries in its dictionary (which thanks to its versatility corresponds to approximately 1500 different meanings). Christophe.