Phonetic orthographies

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Nov 24 21:57:21 CET 2006

Gerard Meijssen scripsit:

> If it is so clear that they are recognisably different, would it not
> make sense to remedy this ambiguity and have a specific tag for both
> McCune-Reischauer and Revised Romanization ? These tags are apparently
> more significant than the identification of Latn.

Not so.  I can understand both romanizations fairly well, but
Korean script not at all (I can painfully decode it).

> When a person is reading a document, he or she does not care at all
> what tag is giving to the language of the content. It is readable to
> him or it is not. When it is not, it is not useful. Computers cannot
> read anything. For them, a tag can make a difference between processing
> a text or not.

Computers don't always process texts: they also simply select them
for human consumption, which is one of the chief purposes of
language tagging.

> I would not be surprised however when there are a significant amount
> of websites that identify themselves as English and are anything
> but English.

Quite likely.

> I am also convinced that persons who speak English to any degree have
> no use whatever for phonetic transcriptions of English.

Not so either specifically or generally.  I may speak Chinese but
be unable to read or write it, in which case a phonetic transcription
helps (though Hanyu Pinyin probably helps more).  I often resort
to IPA to communicate a pronunciation of English, furthermore.

Business before pleasure, if not too bloomering long before.
--Nicholas van Rijn
John Cowan <cowan at>

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