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Re: Armenian numbering: findings, recommendations and request to CSS

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2009 20:58:06 +0100
Message-ID: <499873CE.6090005@malform.no>
To: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
CC: W3C Style List <www-style@w3.org>, fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Robert J Burns 2009-02-14 23.43:
> On Feb 14, 2009, at 3:47 PM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>> Robert J Burns 2009-02-14 00.25:
>>> Hi Leif and fantasai,

>> In a summary, we are juggling with 4 things:
>>     Alphabet: The particualr alphabet in question
>>     A: classic systems (Roman, Armenian, classical Greek, classical 
>> Church slavonic, Georgian) based on letters in place of numbers.
>>     B: alphabetical collation
>>     C: hybrids: saying a, b, c instead of 1, 2, 3
> [...] I'm less clear about the distinction between B and C. [...]

>> E.g for the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, C constitutes as shorter 
>> version of that alphabet, than B does. {And B), in turn, constitutes 
>> as shorter version of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.}
> I'm still not understanding the B/C distinction. I think the B and C 
> distinction then is more about this limiting of subsets to specific 
> languages.   Of course there will be some scripts where the language and
> script are reduced to the same thing (like Hebrew) and also where there 
> is no upper and lower case distinction (e.g., Arabic, and also Hebrew 
> again).

The B/C distinction is defined culturally. Let's look at Russian.

Alphabet, Collation, Listing:
    [...],   [...],   [...].
      Е,       Е,       Е.
      Ё,       Ё,       –.
    [...],   [...],   [...].
      И,       И,       И.
      Й,       Й,       –.
    [...],   [...],   [...].
      Ъ,       –,       –.
      Ы,       Ы,       –.
      Ь,       –,       –.
    [...],   [...],   [...].

The Ъ and Ь are non-voiced and only modify the preceding letters - 
hence they play no role as first-letters whether in collation or 
in the derived  listing/outline format. The Ё perhaps looks too 
similar to the Е and was also in general writing for a long time 
demoted in favour of E. Dropping Ё also The Й look very similar to 
Й and is, as a first-letter, only used in loan words. And also Ы 
never appears as first-letter except in loan words. (But the Ш and 
the Щ also look similar, but are still kept in listing, probably 
because they both can be first-letters.)

In theory, there is no problem using the full alphabet, including 
  the non-voiced letters, for the purpose of list-enumeration. 
After all, upper-norwegian includes Q,X,W,Z, even if they are 
considered exotic letters in Norwegian. But in practise, the 
Russian enumeration format reminds of German, where "Ä, Ö, Ü" (and 
ß) are not part of first-letter collations of native German names 
and words. There is "something extra" that excludes some of the 
German as well as Russian letters, from being used in lists.

> In the case of Armenian being identical for the first 10 letter, that 
> may be true, but that's just a particular coincidence. The two systems 
> are still fundamentally different between Armenian numeric (A) on on 
> hand and Armenian alphabetic (B/C) on the other.


> So I would say we're really dealing with two situations: letter-based 
> numeral systems and alphabetic (more broadly in Unicode terminology: 
> lettered) enumerations.

OK, well, of course. There are two basic kinds: letter-based 
numeral systems and lettered enumerations. But of the the latter 
kind, there are two kinds, as well:

1) Strictly alphabetic collations based formats, which are rather 
simple to document as real and existing (but which *may often not* 
be that much used in academical and other works that typically use 
lettered enumeration).

2) Culturally defined lettered enumeration, which is documented by 
their use in academical works (hence LaTeX etc) and also sometimes 
defined by standard commitees etc.

One needs to be aware of both variants, in order to get things 
right. (This task is perhaps somewhat simplified for Latin, 
because of the strong position of the Basic Modern Latin alphabet.[1])

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_modern_Latin_alphabet
leif halvard silli
Received on Sunday, 15 February 2009 19:58:48 UTC

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