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Re: terminology

    > From: bear <bear@xxxxxxxxx>
    > On Fri, 20 Feb 2004, Tom Lord wrote:
    > >    > From: bear <bear@xxxxxxxxx>

    > >    > On Tue, 10 Feb 2004, Tom Lord wrote:

    > >    >> Programmers building global computing environments have need for
    > >    >> certain categories of characters which historically, are of little or
    > >    >> no interest to linguists.  One of these categories is comprised of
    > >    >> many of the characters used to write words, whether those characters
    > >    >> are alphabetic, syllabic, or ideographic.   Linguistics hasn't given
    > >    >> us a term for that category.

    > >    > Well, actually it has.  Linguists call these categories "glyphs" or
    > >    > "graphemes", usually with varying degrees of precision or varying
    > >    > exact meaning depending on the context or speaker.

    > >Um, I _think_ you are wrong.   Are you _certain_ of what you say?

    > >I'm not aware of what specific technical meaning "glyph" or "grapheme"
    > >may have in academic linguistics, but I would be quite surprised to
    > >find that it excluded, say, digits, punctuation, and other marks which
    > >do not constitute "words" in the (loose) sense used in computing.

    > No, neither 'glyphs' nor 'graphemes' excludes punctuation, digits,
    > etc.  The distinction between them is about whether they are a
    > concrete shape (a glyph) or a 'minimum ideal unit of written language'
    > (a grapheme). An alphabet is a set of graphemes.  A particular
    > inscription is a set of glyphs.

    > Linguists talk about alphabets, syllabaries, ideograph sets, etc, and
    > have had little need of words that lump these together but leave out
    > punctuation and digits.

You know, there's no shame in just saying "gah -- you're right, tom."