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

Nathan Sanders Nathan.Sanders at WILLIAMS.EDU
Fri May 29 02:59:19 UTC 2009

On May 28, 2009, at 10:13 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:

> On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 6:48 PM, Nathan Sanders
> <Nathan.Sanders at williams.edu> wrote:
>> On May 28, 2009, at 5:50 PM, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>>> Of course truespel can do all these things without the need for
>>> special fonts.
>> Nonsense. Â Truespel needs a font that uses glyphs that match the
>> English alphabet (and has an ASCII encoding). Â Truespel as you
>> know it
>> would be unrecognizable if rendered with a font like Symbol or
>> Windgings.
> Though I feel strange defending Mr. Z., he said "without the need for
> *special* fonts. Arguably, a Unicode font that supports all the IPA
> characters is "special" in contrast to a font that need only support

Granted, but (older versions of) Symbol and Wingdings would not be
suitable for Truespel because their ASCII positions are mapped to non-
English alphabet glyphs in most cases (e.g., the ASCII position for
"a" is mapped to the alpha glyph in Symbol and to the Pisces
astrological glyph in Wingdings).  (Newer versions of dingbats fonts
make use of the higher Unicode ranges, and free up the lower ASCII
range to map to English alphabet glyphs.  This isn't universal,
however, and there's certainly nothing preventing a font from mapping
an ASCII position to something unexpected.)

I took "special" to mean "non-arbitrary", but if you interpret
"special" to mean "not limited to the English alphabet", then I agree
with you.


Nathan Sanders
Linguistics Program
Williams College

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

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