IPA in spreadsheets (was: antedating "hobo" 1885)

Chris Waigl chris at LASCRIBE.NET
Thu May 28 23:21:34 UTC 2009

On Thu, 28 May 2009 21:50:40 +0000, Tom Zurinskas <truespel at HOTMAIL.COM>
> Can these fonts be used in spreadsheets and can they be put in emails
> this forum and filenames?

This question shows that you reading up on the basic concepts would help
engaging in meaningful discussions. For a very gentle introduction that
elucidates the concepts of "font", "character", "encoding" and so forth and
explains the usefulness of the Unicode way of approaching the problem, see
the first half of Tim Bray's article "On the Goodness of Unicode"
http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/200x/2003/04/06/Unicode (the second half
goes in more detail concerning Unicode codepoints and encodings). With this
baggage, the answers to your questions are:

- Sure, if the spreadsheet software is Unicode-capable (most are these
days) and you have Unicode fonts installed that are able to display IPA
(recent versions of Windows and OS X come with some of those)
- Email -- not much of a problem, but again all parts of the software have
to be aware of the encoding. This particular mailing list software has some
annoying configuration problems / bugs, but any modern blogging or web
forum tool I've ever used is fine with IPA. (You only have to read just
about any language blog to find examples.)
- Filenames: Depends on the OS and whether you transfer files between
computers with different locale settings. BTW in non-English speaking
countries, non-ascii filenames are commonplace.

> Of course truespel can do all these things without the need for special
> fonts.  A plain typewriter can do truespel.

Unfortunately, truespel can only do American English, and that only to a
certain degree. Which reduces its usefulness, even if you're only
interested in using it for English exclusively.

For ascii-only versions of IPA, you could look up Sampa and Kirshenbaum.


Chris Waigl

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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