Languages that Mix Scripts

capthaddock's picture

I happened upon this interesting page today:
http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/unicode/unicode_mixing.html

The author (who is Australian) is primarily interested in Unicode and the Greek language, but this page covers the interesting topic of script mixing. Sub-topics of note:

- Kurds in the ex-USSR use Cyrillic script with the additional latin "q". However, the capital Q is usually drawn like a big lowercase q. Does it deserve its own unicode slot? (I say yes!)

- Wakhi, a central Asian language, has a mixed script of Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek letters.

- The Byzantine Greeks used to use a lot of Latin-script words in their documents, but with Greek affixes and diacritics. Eventually, the "Greek-style" of writing certain words caught on among Latin scribes!

- Certain Greek dialects use a Latin letters to represent sounds not present in standard Greek.

Cases like these could really push Unicode and type design to their respective limits.

However, the real reason I'm posting is that this is the first website I've seen with all content available in English, Greek, Latin, Esperanto, Lojban, and Klingon!!! [Yes, that fact deserves a Triple-bang.] I wonder what his target readership is.

Paul

kakaze's picture

If you go to google and click on "language tools" there is a list of google translations you can look at, including Bork, Esperanto, Klingon, and Elmer Fudd.

matha_standun's picture

Cases like these could really push Unicode and type design to their respective limits.

I think Klingon fans have already pushed Unicode a few inches closer to the limit of the ridiculous:

http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n1643/n1643.htm

I wonder what his target readership is.

People who design fonts for non-existant languages ?

Matha

kakaze's picture

Isn't it funny to know that Klingon is the most studied language in the world now? Take that Star Wars! heh

matha_standun's picture

but I suppose we'd have to define what we mean by 'studied', wouldn't we.

I think people have too much spare time on their hands. The end is nigh.

M.

union's picture

But what would those people spending there spare time studying Klingon think of a community of people who spend there spare time developing fonts.

I know the looks I get from other designers when I talk about flying half way round the world for Typecon2004.

Jim

matha_standun's picture

But what would those people spending there spare time studying Klingon think of a community of people who spend there spare time developing fonts.

and what if the two communities accidentally came into contact? Would it be love at first sight, an exchange of prisoners or phasers set to stun?

Matha.

kakaze's picture

I think it would probably be like matter and anti matter...

There would be nothing left but poorly made fore head prosthesises and fontlab discs for severl miles...

John Hudson's picture

The Unicode Klingon proposal was rejected, mainly because the supposed user community -- all those people studying the language -- use a Latin transliteration instead of the script. Wimps.

The Tolkien scripts probably will be encoded though (in one of the supplementary planes), not least because Tengwar is a serious challenge and solving the problems will be a useful exercise.

kakaze's picture

Okay, see, if they're going to reject Klingon, they should reject Tolkien stuff as well.

Especially considering Klingon is used by more people than Tolkien scripts, transliteration or not.

What klingon really needs is a system that can be written easily with a pen, not huge shapes. What are you supposed to outline them and then fill them in?

hrant's picture

Chris, Tolkien was a linguist, that Hollywood produced wasn't.

> .... then fill them in?

With human blood, of course.

BTW:
http://www.theonion.com/onion3526/klingon_navajo.html

hhp

gln's picture

Chris,

>What klingon really needs is a system that can be written easily with a pen, not huge shapes. What are you supposed to outline them and then fill them in?

Think outside the box.

Why would a Klingon revert to a written language that evolved on earth.
I am sure they must have a different method of forming shapes........thought transference or ??

gln

John Hudson's picture

Okay, see, if they're going to reject Klingon, they should reject Tolkien stuff as well.

The difference is that no one from the Klingon user community approached Unicode with a request, whereas Tolkien enthusiasts have (in fact, one of of them is Irish national representative to ISO 10646). In fact, when Unicode approach Klingon -- ahem -- 'scholars', they were told that there was no interest in having the script encoded.

Anyway, Tengwar is actually very interesting as a complex writing system (it's like an Indic script on drugs). Klingon is not at all interesting.

kakaze's picture

Hrant, Mark Okrand, a linguist, invented the modern Klingon language.

And Klingon may not be interesting to you, but it's interesting to some people. Otherwise the bible wouldn't've been translated into it...anyone done that with the Tolkien languages?

:shrug: I honestly could care less either way, though.

matha_standun's picture

the bible wouldn't've been translated into it...

Now I'm scared.

m

John Hudson's picture

Chris, I'm talking about the scripts, not the languages. The Klingon script is not very interesting, in the same way that the Latin script is not very interesting, i.e. structurally. It's just a bunch of independent signs in a row. Structurally interesting scripts are things like Devanagari and the other Brahmi-derived scripts of India and Southeast Asia, and Arabic, and old Byzantine Greek cursive in which signs interract contextually, change form, move around, etc. Tengwar is of interest to script encoding engineers because it poses challenges and pushes the boundaries of technology. Developing an encoding for Klingon, on the other hand, would take about five minutes and wouldn't pose any challenge at all.

kakaze's picture

Oh, okay, I get you now.

Sorry, I can be quite dense sometimes...notice how everytime I come here all the light just starts circling around me.

Joe Pemberton's picture

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