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Re: writing (almost) entirely in lower-case letters

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  • Padraic Brown
    ... While it s true that Latin script does have capitalisation as a useful reading convention, he did actually just give us a valid reason for scrapping it,
    Message 1 of 55 , Jun 24, 2013
      ----- Original Message -----
      > From: Michael Everson <everson@...>
      > To: CONLANG@...
      > Cc:
      > Sent: Friday, 21 June 2013, 10:29
      > Subject: Re: [CONLANG] writing (almost) entirely in lower-case letters
      >
      > On 17 Jun 2013, at 01:15, C. Brickner <tepeyachill@...> wrote:
      >
      >> Senjecas is unicameral, using only the lower case.  I figure that, since
      > there are no capital letters in the various Senjecan scripts, why use them in
      > transliterations into the Latin alphabet?
      >
      > Because there's no reason to jettison the useful reading conventions of the
      > Latin script. 

      While it's true that Latin script does have capitalisation as a useful reading convention,
      he did actually just give us a valid reason for scrapping it, namely, the native script in
      question has no case distinction. Reading Senjecas in all lower case gives one a taste
      of what it's like to read the native writing without actually dealing with a foreign script.

      There is no reason to force the case conventions of English onto another language just
      because those conventions happen to convenient and familiar to English readers! When
      transcribing my own conlangs using Latin script, I dó in fact at times use something
      approaching an English mode of capitalisation -- as you say, it is useful and convenient
      and familiar. But I don't hold anyone else to following that same practice; and I don't
      even follow it consistently for all languages.

      Padraic
       
      > Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
    • Michael Everson
      ... Let s look at the consonants first, shall we? I count 80 consonants used in the IPA (the current official IPA) and of those only 35 of them do not have
      Message 55 of 55 , Jun 26, 2013
        On 22 Jun 2013, at 19:29, BPJ <bpj@...> wrote:

        >> Most IPA letters have capitals, actually.
        >
        > It's easy to determine that that is not true. Of the 96 characters in the IPA Extensions block only 29 have capitals, and even if we allow for the fact that some characters in that block are obsolete (some of which are among those having caps) or nonstandard, and that _a-z æ ø ð β θ_ and perhaps a few more letters with caps are also IPA that's far from a majority!

        Let's look at the consonants first, shall we? I count 80 consonants used in the IPA (the current official IPA) and of those only 35 of them do not have capital letters. That's 45 with caps, against 35 without. A majority. And if you discount characters like the 8 glottals and 5 clicks which are not very Latin-like and are used *as* caseless characters (as opposed to lower-case characters without case), as well as 6 of the small-caps characters for which capital forms can't sensibly designed, you've got only 16 characters which could have caps not having them. Against 45.

        > Moreover there would be the problem that at least b/β ð/ɖ and x/χ would have identical
        > capital shapes. That doesn't make a party IMHO!

        You are mistaken as Latin letter Beta and Latin letter Chi have recently been added to the standard.

        To the consonants:

        In the first line of the chart only two characters don't have capital forms, and one could compose a dotless J wth stroke. Admittedly the glottal situation is a bit tricky, but case forms were innovated for a natural orthography. Obviously it is problematic making a capital for a small capital letter.

        Pp Bb Tt Dd Ʈʈ Ɖɖ Cc *ɟ Kk Ɡɡ Qq *ɢ Ɂɂ

        In the second line of the chart two characters don't have capital forms; one could easily be devised for the first.

        Mm Ɱɱ Nn Nn *ɳ Ɲɲ Ŋŋ *ɴ

        In the fourth line one character has no capital; again, a small-cap.

        *ʙ Rr Ʀʀ

        In the fifth line two are missing caps, but both could have one devised pretty easily.

        *ⱱ *ɾ Ɽɽ

        In the sixth line the phi is missing a cap but could have one designed; the palatal s and z are but arguably one could compose the caps at need; small caps turned r could have a turned Yr as its cap; the pharyngeal is as problematic as the glottal. Latin Beta and Chi are new.

        *ɸ Ꞵꞵ Ff Vv Θθ Ðð Ss Zz Ʃʃ Ʒʒ *ʂ *ʐ Çç Ʝʝ Xx Ɣɣ Ꭓꭓ *ʁ Ħħ *ʕ Hh Ɦɦ

        In the seventh line both are missing caps, but all could have one devised pretty easily.

        *ɬ *ɮ

        In the eighth line three are missing caps, but all could have one devised pretty easily.

        Ʋʋ *ɹ *ɻ Jj *ɰ

        In the ninth line three are missing caps, but two could have one devised pretty easily.

        Ll *ɭ *ʎ *ʟ

        It is true that none of the clicks are casing:

        *ʘ *ǀ *ǃ *ǂ *ǁ

        But most of the voiced implosives are, and the palatal could be devised from Ʃ:

        Ɓɓ Ɗɗ *ʄ Ɠɠ *ʛ

        Leaving us with the other symbols:

        *ʍ Ww Ɥɥ *ʜ *ɕ *ʑ *ɺ *ɧ *ʢ *ʡ

        Now, let's look at the vowels.

        Ii Yy Ɨɨ Ʉʉ Ɯɯ Uu

        [*]ɪ *ʏ Ʊʊ

        Ee Øø *ɘ Ɵɵ *ɤ Oo

        Əə

        Ɛɛ Œœ Ɜɜ *ɞ Ʌʌ Ɔɔ

        Ææ Ɐɐ

        Aa *ɶ Ɑɑ Ɒɒ

        Here casing fares even better, with 28 total vowels only 5 of which aren't cased, and 2 of those are excluded as they are small caps, except for small-capital i for which a proper capital has been devised and has been proposed for encoding.

        I'd say "Most IPA letters have caps, actually" is accurate.

        Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/
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