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Re: terminology

This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 52 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 52 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.

    > 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."