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> 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."