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Re: FVS for NA

From: Richard Wordingham <richard.wordingham@ntlworld.com>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 20:44:15 +0100
To: "public-i18n-mongolian@w3.org" <public-i18n-mongolian@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20150807204415.15fb4813@JRWUBU2>
On Fri, 7 Aug 2015 13:32:12 +0000
Martin Heijdra <mheijdra@Princeton.EDU> wrote:

> On Thursday, August 06, 2015 7:14 PM, Richard Wordingham wrote:

>> On Thu, 6 Aug 2015 13:15:10 +0000, Martin Heijdra wrote:

>> > Thus, the following message refers to the N. The FVS1 there always
>> > was defined as a *toggle*, always meaning "the first exception to
>> > the rule": thus, in running text, NA+FVS1 did NOT refer to a
>> > particular glyph, and any such assumption so is wrong (unless you
>> > completely change the rules). The NA has different default
>> > versions, with or without dot, before consonants and vowels; the
>> > FVS1 chooses the opposite. Thus, in running text, unlike metatext,
>> > there is no ONE definition of NA+FVS1: it depends on context. At
>> > least, that was the model chosen. Thus it is not even true to say,
>> > what is the case in most cases, that the FVS defines a glyph, but
>> > that whether the FVS is needed in running text depends on the
>> > context, and I think that is the assumption of many: the very shape
>> > of NA+FVS1 depends on the context.

>> Where is this toggling behaviour by FVS1 explicitly specified?  I
>> have find no trace of such a specification.

> 1. The original document which specified that was the TR 170 document
> agreed upon by China and Mongolia in 1999. 

I've finally found TR 170 - it's at
http://i.unu.edu/media/publication/000/001/711/report170a.tgz .  I
couldn't find any mention of toggling in it.

> I actually started with learning about Mongolian encoding when I
> asked Unicode how the NA would be treated, as a toggle, or whether a
> FVS would be needed either before a vowel or consonant, thus whether
> it would be denoted a specific glyph. 

Does this mean you got the answer on a Unicode mailing list, rather
than by reading it in Unicode documentation?

>> Additionally, where have we recorded the rules for dotting NA?  For
>> example, it is not clear from what Martin said that an aleph as the
>> initial but not the only part of a vowel symbol counts as a
>> consonant. 

> 3. The real tables needed to decide behavior in running text were
> provided to me by Microsoft, and originated with long documents, for
> each of the 4 scripts, made under auspices of prof Quejingzhabu. I am
> not sure who provided the input, whether it was him singly or a group
> effort; certainly largely Chinese. Since I received at one time
> updates, also that document was not final apparently; and changes
> could be in the order of those -i diphthongs, so not minor. I have no
> doubt that an updated final, widely agreed-upon version of this
> document is wat is needed to be published by Unicode (it was not
> specific to any particular implementation such as OpenType, thus even
> the more useful), but its proprietary status or not was never too
> clear to me. From the answer by Jirimutu I gather that some version
> is available to this group (the 7th?), but that there are later
> versions that are not (yet). I know it is apparently difficult to get
> that, but I can't see how a shared understanding can be created
> without it. You don't want to have a situation whereby you on behalf
> of Unicode publish one version, and everyone in Inner Mongolia (where
> the major part of users and publications of traditional Mongolian
> are) follow another. There would be nothing standard about that. On
> the other hand, China can't declare as standard anything which is not
> published either.

Yes, this seems to be a problem.  I'm considering making a separate
post about it.

Making FVS1 a toggle for NA rather than specifying specific glyphs
would be an improvement.  However, this only works if we have a rigid
definition of when NA would be dotted in the absence of an FVS.  There
is certainly precedent for a variation selector being a toggle - the
Phags-Pa use of VS1 to toggle the reflection of a few characters.

> 5. Richard: you refer to "aleph" and referred once to the Daniels &
> Bright  book, I think. That is a particularly useless piece of
> writing for Mongolian: it treats the derivation of the script
> historically before it actually settled down, while not at all
> treating current behavior (with that purpose, it may be useful, and
> the author is famous and competent. But it should in my view never
> have been published in this book, since all the other entries were
> about current scripts and how they work.)

Come now, it also has articles on cuneiform writing systems.  There is
the question of how far back in time the Mongolian script in Unicode
should go.  Mentally decomposing the third medial UE into aleph, waw and
yodh helps me understand what is happening with it, including why the
preceding NA should be undotted.  The history of YA being separated from
JA gives me some understanding of the mess we may find. 

Richard.
Received on Friday, 7 August 2015 19:44:51 UTC

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