Message 2001-02-0086: Re: PhyloCode Alphabet

Wed, 21 Feb 2001 23:16:02 +0100

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Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 23:16:02 +0100
From: David Marjanovic <>
To: PhyloCode mailing list <>
Subject: Re: PhyloCode Alphabet

> > > I think the article is a good one. Allowing diacritical marks could
> > > to confusion. (Suppose two names were identical except that one had a
> > > grave over an 'a'? Even worse, if one had a grave and another had an
> > > mark?)
> >
> > I'd suggest to treat such cases in the spirit of Note 17.1.1., which
> > that diaereses can be used, but do not constitute a part of the
> > so names that don't differ in the actual letters are synonymous:
> > "The use of the diaeresis, indicating that a vowel is to be pronounced
> > separately from the preceding vowel, is not part of the orthography of a
> > name, though it may be included in an established name as an optional
> > pronunciation guide."
> Oh, I missed that note! Sounds good to me. Only possible problem -- that
> people may mistakenly think that the diaeresis is a required part of the
> name. Which is hardly a problem at all, now that I think about it.


> > BTW, not all pairs of dots on vowels are diaereses. ä, ö, and ü,
> (Again, my e-mail reader doesn't render these properly. I see a capital
> Sigma, a division sign, and a superscript "n"!)

Really cool e-mail reader... :-o  yes, I wrote a, o, u with 2 dots each.
(These are keys on a German keyboard:
YXCVBNM;:_    )

> > uses *Velocipes guerichi*, *V. gurichi* and *V. gürichi* on the same
page to
> > describe a dinosaur scrap from Germany.)
> There's already a standard transliteration for these characters (assuming
> they're the characters I think you mean -- remember, I can't read them
> properly): ae, oe, ue.

Guessed correctly -- ae, oe, ue are only used in German AFAIK. (I've seen a
specific epithet _stensioi_, based on the famous Swedish paleontologist, and
Hungarian e-mail addresses also don't use oe and ue.)

> > > Sticking to 26 distinct letters also allows for easier typesetting
> > > and, as we've seen here, electronic communication.
> >
> > That's why I said "allow" and mentioned Note 17.1.1., which makes the
> > optional. I'm well aware that most people's and publishing companies'
> > computers, printers etc. can't write most diacritics!
> Well, I guess this doesn't sound too bad. However, there are cases, as in
> the above example of _Velocipes_, where I think it should be rendered in
> "pure" modern Latin (_V. guerichi_). Using diacritics for these "umlaut"
> sounds would change the basic letter content (eliminating the "e").

Good argument; changing the "basic letter content" has, however, happened
often, like in _Unenlagia_ and _G. stipanicicorum_ (c alone is pronounced
ts, c with that "small v" [which has a name -- hácek, with itself on the c
:-( ] is ch, c with acute [the last letter of my name] is a sound in

> I just think the Latin alphabet has some serious disadvantages when
> applied to many languages, because it doesn't have letters for plenty
> of sounds.

> There exists a standardized, international alphabet capable of
> representing every sound in human languages: the International Phonetic
> Alphabet (based primarily on Latin, with a few borrowings from Greek,
> etc.) Unfortunately, it's even harder to print and electronically write
> using the IPA than it is using the characters you've had as examples.


> But there are methods of representing the IPA in ASCII. I think this is
> the most popular one (Evan Kirshenbaum's):
> <>.

Interesting link!

> and "zh"...
> ("zh" [Z] is a different sound (voiced version of "sh" [S]). But you've
> certainly given enough examples to make your point.)

(Oops! Forgot a comma here, and should maybe have elaborated the three dots
more. I wanted to say that zh has a similar range of representations, even
though it occurs in less languages [in Europe]: j in French, Portuguese and
Romanian, zs in Hungarian, z with a dot in Polish, z with that "small v" in
the rest of Latin-writing Slavic languages...)


Feedback to <> is welcome!