A proposed solution for descriptions (was: Re: ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko)

Ciarán Ó Duibhín ciaran at oduibhin.freeserve.co.uk
Sun Jun 11 20:55:05 CEST 2006

I agree with Doug's original suggestions.

Vidar's explanation of the workings of web search engines shows that this is
a large step in the right direction, but unfortunately (as Vidar
acknowledges), local searching is unlikely to work this way.  I can confirm
that IE 5.5's within-page "find" does not.  So I think there is still a need
for us to provide accent-less terms like "Volapuk", even if web search can
manage without them.

The web search is less successful with "N'Ko", which it treats as two terms
N and Ko, even allowing that it may do the same with the user's search term.
(Unless, of course, this name really is a compound of these two elements,
which I'm assuming it is not.)  But this is not the place to discuss how
websearch might better handle apostrophes and hyphens, which are generally a
more integral part of the word than are other punctuation marks.  For the
registry, I think  we should have both descriptions, N’Ko and
N'Ko, for local seaches, which in this case may do better than a

On the nature of ' and ’, I find it strange that they are
sometimes regarded as meaning the same but looking different.  As someone
who processes text, I need different characters for apostrophe and right
single quote, with different semantics and different processing
requirements, whereas both of them should be displayed as the "9-comma"
wherever possible.  An apostrophe character is generally used to indicate
fusion of words (don't, c'est, geht's), with probable elision of something.
A right single quote character is used, in conjunction with a left single
quote, to demarcate a stretch of text.  Encoding both as ’ would be
no better than encoding both as '.  With N'Ko, does either of these
interpretations apply to the mark (it seems clear that the right single
quote doesn't), or would some other character (&#x02BC, &#x02B9 ?) come

Ciarán Ó Duibhín.

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