Text encoding Babel. Was Re: George Keremedjiev

Christian Gauger-Cosgrove captainkirk359 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 26 16:38:44 CST 2018

On Mon, 26 Nov 2018 at 03:44, Liam Proven via cctalk
<cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> If it's in Roman, Cyrillic, or Greek, they're alphabets, so it's a letter.
Correct, Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic are alphabets, so each
letter/character can be a consonant or vowel.

> I can't read Arabic or Hebrew but I believe they're alphabets too.
Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Punic, Aramaic, Ugaritic, et cetera are
abjads, meaning that each character represents a consonant sound,
vowel sounds are either derived from context and knowledge of the
language, or can be added in via diacritics.

Devanagari and Thai (and Tibetan, Khmer, Sudanese, Balinese...) are
abugidas, where each character is a consonant-vowel pair, with the
"base" character being one particular vowel sound, and alternates
being indicated by modifications (example in Devanagari: "क" is "ka",
while "कि" is "ki"; another example using Canadian Aboriginal
Syllabics "ᕓ" is "vai" whereas "ᕗ" is "vu").

> 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.
Japanese actually uses three different scripts. Chinese characters
(the kanji script of Japanese, and the hanja script of Korean) are

Japanese also has two syllabic scripts, katakana and hiragana where
each character represents a specific consonant vowel pair.

Korean hangul (or if you happen to be from the DPRK, chosŏn'gŭl) is a
mix of alphabet and syllabary, where individual characters consist of
sub parts stacked in a specific pattern. Stealing Wikipedia's example,
"kkulbeol" is written as "꿀벌", not the individual parts "ㄲㅜㄹㅂㅓㄹ".

And now for even more fun, Egyptian hieroglyphics and cuneiform (which
started with Sumerian, and then used by the Assyrians/Babylonians and
others) are a delightful mix of logographic, syllabic and alphabetic
characters. Because while China loathes you, Babylon has a truly deep
hatred of you and wishes to revel in your suffering.

Christian M. Gauger-Cosgrove
Contact information available upon request.

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