Phonetic orthographies

Debbie Garside debbie at
Sun Nov 12 17:37:05 CET 2006

Coming into this a little late in the day... so I may have missed something
Mark wrote:
 > 15924 does not encode just scripts, it also has variants and aliases,
such as:
 > Cyrs, Latf, Latg, Hans, Hant, Syre, Syrj, Syrn   Hrkt, Jpan 
If the totality of any one of these script (variant) tags can be represented
by another (single) script tag (and by that I mean all the characters
represented within the "variant" are also in another single script tag) then
there is precedent for an application to the ISO 15924 RA to register Latp.
As far as I can see from the discussion this is a different application to
those that have already been presented to the RA and the JAC in this respect
(please correct me if I am wrong).
However, I do have some sympathy with Michael as I don't like to see
International Standards bending from their scope too much and script
variants would seem to be out of scope of the standard itself.  I haven't
seen much of a response to Michael's proposal for 


I would like to know exactly what are the preceived problems with this
best regards
Debbie Garside

The inclusion of IPA as a variant script of Latin is little different from
the distinction between Hans and Hant; both are primarily differences in
selection of characters from UCS. The difference between English written in
IPA vs regular Latin characters is certainly on the order of the difference
between Chinese written in Hans vs Hant, if not more so. It would be of
great benefit to users of IPA to be able to tag data with a variant script
code, and little pragmatic reason not to allow that, especially in view of
the fact that the standard has already been stretched to include variants
and aliases. 

>> This is not my view only. It was the view of the RA.

Regarding the above statement, I also want to add that as far as I can tell,
the 15924 JAC did not consider this topic in any depth, nor does any of the
discussion here seem to be forwarded to the JAC for their consideration; I
believe that the members are unaware of the issues raised regarding language
tags. As far as I could see from email, the sum total of the discussion was
three statements, two by the same person: 

A: "As far as I can see, IPA is just a set of Latin characters."
A: "The IPA is a set of Latin letters, and can be represented by Latn. It is
an orthography of Latin, not a script of its own." 
C: "I concur with this conclusion."
[names removed to protect the innocent]

Morever, I want to point out that the RA and the JAC are two different
entities, and that this view does not represent the view of the RA (which
has not taken a position on the issue). 


On 11/11/06, Peter Constable <petercon at> wrote: 

From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Michael 

> I don't know how to understand the problem people
> have with the IPA.

And you didn't know how to understand the problem people had with
es-americas either. But the problem was still real. 

> I have a hypothesis, not intended to offend anyone.

No offense taken, for my part.

> Some people who only learned 26-35 letters when they
> were children playing with their building blocks and 
> refrigerator magnets and so on apparently have
> difficulty learning new letters when they encounter
> them later on. They look at a run of IPA or UPA or
> something and say "I can't read that" without really 
> trying. But of course they can.

For the vast majority of people, they *can't* read it, aren't going to
try, nor should they have to unless what they are really looking for is
a phonetic transcription. 

> But unfamiliarity does not a separate script make.

Nobody has said phonetic transcriptions are a separate script. We say it
is a script variant that is significantly different from most Latin
practical orthographies, different enough to make content illegible,
unhelpful and undesirable to users except where they are specifically
looking for such content; different enough to warrant a script-variant
ID in 15924 to facilitate IT implementations that can easily 
differentiate such content from "normal" orthographic content and
deliver to users the kind of content that they want.

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