Marco Cimarosti scripsit:

> > IMHO, what the users think about they writing system is quite irrelevant
> > when designing a computer encoding for that writing system.

In theory, perhaps. In practice, if the encoding is too bizarrely
different from the inherited expectations of the reviewers (who are
likely to be among the early adopters) it may well not fly. Such was
the case for Ethiopic, and the current kerfuffle illustrates the point
extremely well.

("In theory, theory and practice are the same thing; in practice, they
are quite different!")

Peter T. Daniels scripsit:

> But do you want your typography
> subsystem to have to rotate characters? Rotating seems to be a very
> memory-intensive procedure.

Not particularly. Iny any case, it would be perfectly satisfactory
to store everything using a mandatory-ligature table that mapped each
(consonant, vowel) and (consonant, virama) pair to the correct glyph.
This would handle an alphabetic encoding of Ethiopic as well.

> Since I'm coming from Ethiopic-land, virama was never part of the
> definition of abugida.

Well, I'm not one for classical definitions, most of the time. I'd rather
say that inherent vowel and virama are prototypical features of abugidas.
Note that I cautiously said that Cree "can be seen as" an abugida, rather
than saying it was one. It'd be more of a stretch to call the standard
spelling of Quenya an abugida, even though the "a" vowel sign can usually
be omitted and the other vowel signs are mandatory. So it goes.

(I always have to resist the temptation to write "abugidae", which
seems like the obvious plural to me; furthermore, when I say the word
it wants to come out with the opening notes of the old _Twilight Zone_
theme music: a-bu-gi-da, a-bu-gi-da.)

John Cowan jcowan@...
"The exception proves the rule." Dimbulbs think: "Your counterexample proves
my theory." Latin students think "'Probat' means 'tests': the exception puts
the rule to the proof." But legal historians know it means "Evidence for an
exception is evidence of the existence of a rule in cases not excepted from."