kmatsum at tooyoo.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp kmatsum at tooyoo.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Wed May 24 09:11:26 UTC 2000

Dear all,

The appeal made by Klaas Ruppel on this mailing list for the
inclusion of FUPA symbols in the so-called "UNICODE" standard
as a prerequisite for a future computer support of the entire
set of Uralic phonetic symbols is a welcome proposal and should
be considered seriously not only by Finno-Ugric linguists but
also by the linguistic community at large.

I am badly in need of a full computer support of FUPA for the
database and corpus projects currently underway here in Tokyo:

1. Database of Minority Languages of Russia
2. Corpora of Baltic Finnic Languages

We've been receiving data mostly in MS Word document format from
Moscow for the first project and from Estonia for the second.

Though the Russian project involve Uralic minority languages rather
marginally, the Estonian project deals with the rendering of FUPA
transcriptions of sound recordings into Latin I format so that the
material can be used for corpus linguistic purposes.

Here's a sample of Votian text we have here in electronic form:

siz viska/b arvolla, kartit c”äezä. c”en izze c”üläz jutte*b, etti
täm näd läziB, siz mustalain tue%p pra/vittam+ma/. no vot. mokom
konsti e%li kazel/ s”ural/. vot,  täm to/z”e% läsi, ko e%li
no/re%putta. no vot, tuli mustalain siZ. i pajatab. mie= ku/lin s”to,
etti sie= läziD. mie= ve%in tehä sille* appia. sinu/ tarvis tu/vva
ke%ik/ parapat se%vaD. (based on Ariste's transcription)

Although the above text seems to offer little problem for the
computer to process, it is certainly not something for a human
linguist to feel at home with.

The Votian language is on the verge of extinction at the very moment
without having ever had a written norm, so phonetic transcription is
the only possible means to record this language for the future
generations. There are only a few linguists specialized in the
Votian language and they all use FUPA. The situation is more or less
the same with other minor Uralic languages which are in danger of

FUPA is an essential tool not only for descriptive and historical
Uralic linguistics but also for those linguists who are making every
effort to record endangered members of the Ualic family of languages.
Without a full computer support of FUPA symbols, linguists working
on endangered languages would have to waste a good part of their time
bothering themselves with things irrelevant to their urgent cause.

Kazuto Matsumura
Univ. of Tokyo

I have noticed that the URL which Michael gave us as the location
of the FUPA draft doesn't work because of the superfluous slash it
has at the end.

> Recte http://www.egt.ie/standards/iso10646/pdf/fupa-draft.pdf/

The correct URL should be:



    Kazuto MATSUMURA (kmatsum at tooyoo.L.u-tokyo.ac.jp)
     Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
     University of Tokyo
     Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, TOKYO 113-0033   JAPAN
     tel. +81-3-5841-2675; fax +81-3-5800-3740
     home page: http://www.tooyoo.L.u-tokyo.ac.jp/kmatsum/
                http://plaza3.mbn.or.jp/~kmatsum/ (in Japanese)

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