At 16:59 -0500 2002-06-03, Martin Heijdra wrote:
>Yes, it's VERY expensive, and I haven't bought my own copy yet... I really
>can't decide for you, but I would suggest trying to see it at a library
>first before making a decision.

Heh. It could take years before it finds its way to an Irish
library.... Maybe the Chester Beatty Library (which everyone
attending the IUC in Dublin in May *MUST* visit)....

>To give an example: I just opened it at 'Phags-pa (7 1/2 pages).

4 pages in Daniels & Bright.

>There are some 9 tables in here, and you might or might not figure
>out what they are about, but the column names are in Japanese (would
>you guess the difference between "transliteration for Tibetan", and
>"used transcription in Mongolian" etc.?).

I have some good Japanese dictionaries... it's just that it's
excruciating to use them (I am much better at finding Chinese
characters, though I can rarely work from translations of those in
sequence into decent English). I might be able to read table headings
in Japanese though. With time and effort. Mind you, I can be pretty
determined when properly motivated.

>Transcription/pronunciation is in Western alphabet, but not meaning
>or further explanation.

That is often a big help nevertheless.

>There are 3 pictures of sources, but you won't be able to read what
>it is, what the points are which are illustrated by them, nor the
>translations, only the transliterations. You won't be able to read
>the text (history, detailed notes on characteristics, writing
>organization, sources--knowing how much there is will make you feel
>very frustrated), and you will understand only 3 out of the 6

Of course it is likelier that I will have access to the Western
references than to non-Western ones.

I guess we really need an English translation of this book, though it
would be really awful to pay EUR 400 for the Japanese only to find
the English version in two years for EUR 50....

>This is followed by Batak (7 pages), which starts with 5 different
>varieties, but you won't be able to read the labels of the five
>varieties (Tapanuli, Toba, Dairi, Margun, Karo), etc., although in
>this case you can read the bibliography completely (9 references: 2
>English, 1 Indonesian, 1 German, 4 or 5 Dutch). Batak has 6 tables
>and 7 figures of sample texts (with in this case not much
>explanation except title).

I wonder if the Indonesian title is

Kozok, Uli. 2000. Warisan leluhur: sastra lama dan aksara Batak.
(Naskah dan Dokumen Nusantara; 17) Jakarta: KPG (Kepustakaan Populer
Gramedia). ISBN 979-9023-33-5

which was sent to me by the author, who, if I may toot my own horn,
thanked me for inspiring him to write it. It is, in my view, all we
need to encode Batak (which should unify the varieties.

And yes, I bought an Indonesian dictionary to help me with table headings!

>This is followed by Papai script (5 pages), with one German and 3
>Japanese references, 3 tables, and 3 figures (only one of which is a
>sample text, for the remainder you need Japanese)

Never heard of it.

>then 2 pages Hatran,

Heard of it in Daniels & Bright but haven't been successful in
finding out more about it. It's Semitic.

>followed by Pahawh Hmong...

We've got good info and contacts on that.

>So, I really think it's wonderful, but without Japanese it will be very
>frustrating: you'll want to know what's there.


>It's not a picture book, as is the Japanese Man and Writing book
>and/or CD ROM; THAT is really the best collection of pictures of
>scripts I know of, and would be enjoyable and useful even for those
>not knowing Japanese. It's also unlike the Sekai no moji no zuten, a
>work I once reported, which is a work of 500 plus pages of mainly
>hand-drawn pictures and tables, with minimal (and rather obvious
>introductory) texts: useful but not essential.

Man and Writing?

>I hope you have a chance to see the book before you decide.

We'll see....
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***