Q: transcription symbol for unaspirated

Alexandre Arkhipov arxipov at PHILOL.MSU.RU
Thu Apr 3 15:48:43 UTC 2008

Dear colleagues,

Does any of you know of an appropriate transcription symbol for *un*aspirated consonants?

-- We are trying to find some (quasi) standard symbol to mark the unaspirated in (some of) the Nakh-Daghestanian languages, where the aspirated stops and affricates are the unmarked option and very frequent; on the contrary, the unaspirated are marked and rare. So we'd like to put no additional symbol for aspiration, marking the unaspirated instead.

-- This is for a transcription system that is an adaptation of the IPA to the tradition of Daghestanian studies, it is not strictly IPA (the IPA transcription will be provided separately). We don't want to invent something ad hoc but for the moment we don't see any widely used symbol that would fit.

-- The IPA charts (including 2005 revised version) only have a symbol for the aspirated -- a superscript small h.

-- The Unicode standard lists a character "modifier letter unaspirated" (U+02ED) which seems to be a superscript equals sign, but we've never seen it used anywhere -- are any of you familiar with it?

-- The best option for us, typographically, would be a symbol placed either below the main character or to the right of it. We are thinking of, for example, a minus or equals sign below, or of the famous triangular colon (which could, though, be somewhat misleading).

We will be grateful for any suggestions and comments.
Best regards,

Alexandre Arkhipov,
OTiPL at Moscow State University

(Cross-posted to LinguistList)
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