Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?

Michael Everson everson at
Thu Mar 23 08:48:37 CDT 2017

On 23 Mar 2017, at 06:28, David Starner <prosfilaes at> wrote:

> > Does "Яussia" require a new Latin letter because the way R was written has a different origin than the normal R?
> But it doesn’t. It’s the Latin letter R turned backwards by a designer for a logo. We wouldn’t encode that, because it’s a logo.
> What logo?

Oh, sorry. “Toys Я Us” which is what I saw when I saw your “Яussia”.

> I honestly don't know what logo you're talking about, but a quick Google search confirms it's used outside of a logo. I was thinking of which actually doesn't use the reversed R, but uses other Cyrillic characters. 

Decorative display type and font play on book covers is a very different thing from the development of the Deseret alphabet we are discussing here. 

>> We don’t encode diphthongs. We encode the elements of writing systems. The “idea” here is represented by one ligature of �� + �� (1855 EW), one ligature of �� + �� (1859 EW), one ligature of �� + �� (1855 OI), and one ligature of �� + �� (1859 OI).
> If they're ligatures, they should be encoded as ligatures; if they're indivisible characters, then their glyph forms are of less interest.

We don’t encode ligatures. We encode letters which are historically derived from ligation. That’s what the existing EW and OI are, and that’s what the 1859 revised letters were.

>> Those ligatures are not glyph variants of one another. You might as well say that Æ and Œ are glyph variants of one another.
> Æ and Œ have contrasting use; they're used in the same text in distinct ways.

That happens to be the case, but the analogy has to do with the origin of the ligatures. 

> Note that n and v̆ are considered glyph variants of each other, because v̆ is used in Sutterlin in exactly the places that n is used in typewritten versions of the text.

It’s n and ǔ in Sütterlin, not n and v̆. 

> æ is not œ even when they are printed in fonts that make it nearly impossible to tell them apart. It has nothing to do with the glyphs or how those glyphs were created, it's because they're used in different ways. 

It was an analogy about the structural development of the ligated letters. 

> The example of Sutterlin strikes me as quite relevant here; characters get all sorts of weird shapes in handwriting. Sometimes they end up immortalized in printing, and then they usually get encoded. Usually not.

Again: The source of 1855 EW and OI uses *different* letters than the 1859 EW and OI do. This wasn’t accidental. It’s not hard to puzzle out or to see. This isn’t random or even systematic natural development of handwriting styles. It was a principled revision done on the basis of phonetic analysis. English diphthongs EW and OI were first represented by ligatures representing [ɪuː] and [ɒɪ], and then later by ligatures representing [ɪʊ] and [ɔːɪ]. 

Indeed I would say to John Jenkins and Ken Beesley that the richness of the history of the Deseret alphabet would be impoverished by treating the 1859 letters as identical to the 1855 letters. 

Michael Everson

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