Text encoding Babel. Was Re: George Keremedjiev

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Mon Nov 26 02:44:38 CST 2018

On Mon, 26 Nov 2018 at 01:00, Grant Taylor via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> If they are not seen as separate letters, then do their meaning's
> change?  Or is the different accent more for pronunciation?

No, mainly, it changes alphabetical order and it makes asking questions tricky.

I see š as an s-with-a-haček and if I forget the haček, I may
pronounce it as an s; š = ``sh'' in English. ``č'' = "ch" in English.

But that isn't how Czechs think. It's as impossible to misread or
mispronounce Š as S as it would be a nonsense to mispronounced ``T''
as ``M'' in English, so people find it very hard to guess what I mean.
To me, the diacritic modifies a letter, and in a word with 4 or 5
diacritics, they pile up in my head, I overload and may drop one or 2
of them. That renders the world as babel in Czech.

(I chose T/M because, incredibly to me, hand-written T in Russian is
written as M. Mind you, handwritten almost everything in Russian
becomes mmmmmMmmmMmmmmMmm. I can read printed Cyrillic but I find
handwritten stuff impossible.)

> I assume that they have different meanings (if that applies to letters)
> and are uses as different as "A" and "q".


> > Czech is like that. Š and Č and Ž and many more that my Mac can't
> > readily type are _extra letters_ which come after the unmodified form
> > in the alphabet.
> ~twitch~

Yep. The Scandinavians have just 3 extras.

Czech has about a dozen.


42 letters (!).

> I don't even know how to properly describe something that visually looks
> like letters (glyphs?) to me, but may be an imprecise simplification on
> my part.

If it's in Roman, Cyrillic, or Greek, they're alphabets, so it's a letter.

I can't read Arabic or Hebrew but I believe they're alphabets too.

I don't know anything about any Asian scripts except a tiny bit of
Japanese and Chinese, and they get called different things, but
"character" is probably most common.

> I had to zoom my font to see enough detail in Křižíkova, but it does
> look like things came through just like you describe.  (They even made
> it through my shell script that I use to re-flow text in replies.)


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