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Re: Markup of scientific (biological) names, linking to multilingual pages, etc.

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 02:01:26 +0200 (EET)
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.50.0301300201050.4191-100000@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Wed, 29 Jan 2003, Nick Kew wrote:

> Does anyone support the International Phonetic Alphabet on the Web?

Not very well. IPA can be written using Unicode characters, and most of
the modern browsers support Unicode in some sense. However, the actual
support depends on the character repertoire, and I'm afraid fonts with
full IPA support are very rare. Besides, full utilization of IPA means
that one can construct characters that do not appear as such in Unicode
but are formed by combining a base character and one or more diacritic
marks. This is rather challenging, and although some browsers make some
attempts at it, this works for simple cases only, and not very well
typographically.

This was just about the visual rendering of documents. Speech presentation
would be yet another problem. It would in a sense be relatively easy,
easier than speech generation from normal text, since IPA is "phonetic".
However it's "phonetic" in quotes only, since it describes the major
phonetic features only. There's still quite a lot of allophonic variation,
so the result would probably not sound very natural, though perhaps
understandable.

I have no idea of what might happen if you feed an IPA string to a process
of Braille rendering. I have tried to ask people what happens to fairly
normal ISO Latin 1 characters in such rendering but got no definitive
answer. I know that different Braille systems are used in different
countries - but I would have liked to know _something_ about the
repertoire of characters that are "safe" in that context.

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Wednesday, 29 January 2003 19:01:29 GMT

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