Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Fri Mar 24 12:31:04 CDT 2017

2017-03-24 17:11 GMT+01:00 Michael Everson <everson at>:

> On 23 Mar 2017, at 22:03, David Starner <prosfilaes at> wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 6:54 AM Michael Everson <everson at>
> wrote:
> >> 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].
> >
> > Sutterlin was created by Ludwig Sütterlin in 1915. There's lots of
> principled revision going on all the time in the world's scripts that
> doesn't get recorded by Unicode, and this goes double for young constructed
> scripts, where people are playing around with them.
> What’s your point? Sütterlin didn’t invent new letters. Both n and u look
> a lot alike, and so the latter was marked with a breve, but in the
> 15th-century Cornish manuscript I was working with at the British Library
> last week both n and u look a lot alike. This has nothing to do with the
> origin or identity of two sets of letters used for diphthongs in Deseret.

There's a counter example of precedent for the German umlaut which was
unfortunately unified with the diaeresis, even if its origin (and still its
current semantic) is that of a combining letter e and where it does not
play the phonetic role of a diaresis (i.e. the separation of two vowels to
avoid creating digrams for a single phonem represented by pairs of letters).

So "ä" in German is cognate to the "ae" digram, similar to the "ai" digram
used in French (or to the "æ" ligature used other languages, sometimes as a
distinct letter of their basic alphabet), it contains no phonetic diaeresis
as there's a single phonem, and no diphtong (like "aï" in French where this
is a true diaeresis to break the interpretation as the digram "ai").
Same remark for "ö" in German cognate to the digram "oe" (or the ligatured
letter "œ" in other languages or the variant "ø" in Nordic languages), and
"ü" cognate to "ue".

But Unicode just prefered to keep the roundtrip compatiblity with earlier
8-bit encodings (including existing ISO 8859 and DIN standards) so that "ü"
in German and French also have the same canonical decomposition even if the
diacritic is a diaeresis in French and an umlaut in German, with different
semantics and origins.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Unicode mailing list