ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko
everson at evertype.com
Thu Jun 8 10:38:09 CEST 2006
At 23:32 -0700 2006-06-07, Doug Ewell wrote:
>Choosing between a plain ASCII apostrophe and a
>more typographically accurate, curly apostrophe
>does not seem to me to constitute "alternative
>names" in the same sense.
So much so that I wonder why this is an issue. I
mean really. Why is this an issue?
>We even went so far as to use the "acute accent"
>character, U+00B4, in the name "Gwich´in"
>because that is what ISO 639 used.
You did WHAT? Oh, this is too depressing. The
Gwich'in language uses a glottal stop, which
could be represented by U+0027 APOSTROPHE or by
U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK, although the
**correct** character to use is U+02BC MODIFIER
LETTER APOSTROPHE (see
If ISO 639 is using U+00B4 ACUTE ACCENT this is
some sort of bizarre fallback, and it is **not**
what we should be using. We should use the
correct character (as we do in ISO 15924), and if
ISO 639 is using the wrong one, we should help
them to correct it.
It is the codes (Nkoo, nqo) that are normative, not the descriptions.
>The "smart" apostrophe was used for the script
>N'Ko because it appeared in ISO 15924.
>Personally I think it is unfortunate that this
>uncoordinated variety of apostrophes appears in
>the registry, but after all, the spelling in the
>Description field is not normative and can be
Gwich'in should be changed to Gwichʼin, surely.
>The decision is up to the list and the Reviewer,
>but personally I would argue against adding
>multiple Descriptions that differ only in a
>minor typographical detail like this.
APOSTROPHE and RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK are a
well-known typographical pairing and I don't
suppose we need to have both.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com
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