Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Julian Bradfield jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk
Mon Oct 10 15:04:54 CDT 2016

On 2016-10-10, Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> 2016-10-10 18:04 GMT+02:00 Hans Åberg <haberg-1 at telia.com>:
>> > On 10 Oct 2016, at 15:24, Julian Bradfield <jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk>
>> wrote:

>> > The alveolar click with percussive flap hasn't made it into the
>> > standard IPA, but in ExtIPA it's [ǃ¡] (preferably kerned together).
>> There is ‼ DOUBLE EXCLAMATION MARK U+203C which perhaps might be used.

> I disagree, IPA does not use such confusive ligature that would be read as
> a repeated click and not a single one. Reversing the second one (and
> slighly kerning it, thow I don't know how, to avoid the confusion with
> "!i", i.e. a click followed by a vowel, most proably writing them on top of
> each other or slanted/italicized) is a valuable visual distinction for a
> single distinctive phoneme.

What confusion? ¡ is not easily confusable with i - ask the Spanish!

> But IPA also proposes something else when more precise distinctions are
> needed for noting not just the linguistic phonemes but their precise

Did you read the bit where I said that?

> Clicks are also pronouncable by themselves in isolation without any vowel
> (in fact it's much easiler to pronounce them without a vowel) but they may
> easily be pitched (on a small range of about 6 or 7 musical tones) instead
> of being vovalized. However I've not seen any discritics to also annote the
> pitch.

Because no language uses clicks this way, and phonetic alphabets are
not written for composers of mouth music. If one wished to do so, one
would use the standard tone indicators.

> In Chinese vowels are annotated with distinctive tones (but some of them
> variable, where clicks can hardly have a raising or lowering tone). The
> pitch is easily realized by more or less opening the mouth or by slighly
> closing lip or rounding them (giving an appearence of "vowel", though they
> are not voiced through the mouth as they are usually "aspirated" there, but
> only voiced within air expirated through nasal areas). All this looks like

What are you on about?

> technical possibilities of human voice, appropriate for phonetic analysis
> but rarely for actual phonemes of languages as they are hard to be
> distinguished in a group of people.

Those who learn languages natively have no problems distinguishing
voiced, voiceless, aspirated, breathy, nasal, glottalized,... clicks.

> These distonctions are however easiler to recognize within the context of a
> complete speach along with other surrounding phonemes (Chinese may be
> realized on 6 or 7 musical pitch tones by any one, but in speach only 3 are
> used and the other phonemic tones are combination of the 3 basic tones, and

(a) There is no such thing as "Chinese" - there are many different
    languages in China, with a continuum of dialect gradations.
(b) Even if you mean Mandarin, the usual notation for the five (four
    plus neutral) Mandarin tones uses five pitch levels to describe
    the contours, not three.

> spacing modifiers (and in Pinyin, they are frequently noted with standard
> European digits but have no direct relation with the musical pitch tone or
> even with the 3 basic pitches used to compose the phonemic tones). Chinese
> (but also Vietnamese) may also use diacritics above (acute, grave,
> circumflex, tilde...). Linguists needing internationlization use distinct
> symbols written after the vocalic phoneme or just after a vowelless
> consonnantal phoneme, or just after a neutral schwa for a neutral/unclear
> vowel.

Linguists don't need internationalization. They use IPA or other

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