> So, the question is this: Should we say that this writing system is
> completely Latin (keeping the norm that orthographic writing systems use a
> single script) and apply the principle of unification -- across languages
> but not across scripts -- to imply that we need to encode new characters,
> Latin delta, Latin theta and Latin yeru? Or, do we say that this writing
> system is only *mostly* Latin-based, and that it mixes in a few characters
> from other scripts?

If everyone can hold off on the Kurdish rhetoric for the moment,
it should be clear that such mixed orthographies as Peter has
shown in Wakhi are best handled by simply using the characters
that are already encoded, rather than cloning more and more
characters into Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic to deal with the
artificial constraint that would claim that any LGC-based
alphabet *must* consist only of a single script. In point of fact,
people for centuries have been borrowing back and forth between
Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic in particular, so that in some respects
LGC is a kind of metascript and should be treated as such.

Note that we will run across many other examples of such cross-script
LGC letter borrowings in various oddball orthographies. One I
happen to know about is the publication by Morris Swadesh of
extensive texts of Wakashan languages using Cyrillic che (U+0447)
in the midst of otherwise Latin letters for what most Americanists
would currently use Latin c-hacek (U+010D) instead.

It isn't doing anyone any favors to keep cloning such cross-script
borrowings into the character encoding standard, *unless* there
is strong evidence of script-specific adaptation of the letters
after their borrowing. The handling of Latin Q in the otherwise
Cyrillic Kurdish alphabet is what makes it the marginal case it
is and argues for encoding of a separate Cyrillic Q. I do not,
however, believe that such arguments apply to cases such as
this Wakhi instance, unless Peter or someone else could demonstrate
specific "Latin-scriptfication" of the borrowed letters in the
orthography.

--Ken


Reply via email to