--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, Marco Cimarosti <marco.cimarosti@...>
> Peter T. Daniels wrote:
> > Richard Wordingham wrote:
> > [...]
> > > Do marks expressly introduced to create new letters at will
count as
> > > diacritics? The nukta in Devanagari and the prime in modern
> > > are such marks.
> >
> > It has been suggested (I forget by whom) that the <h> in the
> > digraphs ch, sh, th is a diacritic.
> But, if the "¨" in Swedish "ä" or the "-" in "G" are not
diacritics (and I
> agree they aren't), then also the "h" in English "sh" shouldn't be.
> All the marks mentioned above are functional in making something
("ä", "G",
> "sh") different from some other thing ("a", "C", "s"), but the
point is that
> this difference is not *systematic*. I mean: the difference
between "s" and
> "sh" is not the same as the difference between "t" and "th", so
one cannot
> say *what* "h" would be a diacritic for.

Non-Latinness! The same applies mutatis mutandis to Hebrew geresh
and Devanagari nukta.

To me it is very striking that the choice of consonants for the
application of Devanagari nukta and the creation of new consonants
in Thai coincide. Copying? The most striking parallels are the
creation of <z> (so so in Thai) from <j> (cho chang in Thai) rather
than <d> (tho tahan in Thai), and the creation of consonants for
voiced fricatives from voiced stops rather than voiced aspirate
stops. (The consonants for voiceless fricatives have been created
from the consonants for voiceless aspirates.)

English <wh> is a bit of a problem, as <w> isn't Latin, but then
it's also curious in that it is, at least in places, [hw]. I think
<wh> is best regarded as a degeneration of <hw>, attracted by the
other digraphs with <h>.

As to English <sh> and <th>, I could pedanticaly suggest that 'h' in
<sh> and <th> represents half-way Irish-style lenition for 'sh'
and 'th' - there are lenition sequences [s] > [S] > [h] and [t] >
[T] > [h]. However, it doesn't work for soft 'ch'.

> According to this characterization, even Hebrew geresh (as used in
> trasliterating foreign words) and Indic nukta are not diacritics:
> graphic elements which recur in newly created letters.