27 December 2010

texts du jour: designing orthographies

A summary of factors that need to considered when designing a writing system for a language: Factors in designing effective orthographies for unwritten languages by Michael Cahill and Elke Karan, downloadable at the SIL website. A much more detailed look at the issues is available in Karan’s thesis Writing system development and reform.

A document from unicode.org, Recommendations for creating new orthographies, gives advice about selecting existing characters from the Unicode repertoire. Lots of useful warnings in this document about the trouble you might have if you try to combine left-to-right characters with right-to-left characters, try to use a numeral or punctuation mark as an alphabetic character, etc.

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