--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, Andrew Dunbar <hippietrail@...> wrote:
> Over on Wiktionary we're beginning to run up against a
> few difficult questions in the realm of pre-modern
> English. We want to include all spellings of words and
> are not afraid of the old letters such as edh, thorn,
> wynn, yogh, ash, etc.

> and we would all very much appreciate the input of the
> many experts in written language who frequent the
> Qalam forum.

> If anybody prefers, I can re-post what we have already
> talked about on Wiktionary onto this list.
> Regards, Andrew Dunbar (hippietrail)

Replacing Old English wynn by 'w' makes a great improvement in
legibility. It is very difficult to notice the difference between
wynn and <p>, especially if <p> has no ascender.

Old English yogh is just a glyphic variant of 'g' - it should only
be treated differently once it contrasts with 'g'. In Scots it
merged, graphically, with 'z', as in the surname 'Menzies'.

A bar through <b>, <d> or <p> is an abbreviation for vowel + r. I
don't know how late it survived - I've seen <p> with a bar in a 17th
century English document for the 'par' of 'parte'. There's a
similar abbreviation for 'pro', distinct from the abbreviation
for 'per' and 'par'. I've not noticed any Unicode encodings for
these, unless for example we're to equate the English barred <d>
with the Vietnamese barred <d>. I don't think it's a good idea to
use the abbreviated froms as headwords - it makes searching very
difficult, as does the use of ligatures, unless you have very loose
matching criteria. (Loose matching criteria are probably a good
idea for a dictionary. Old English look-up should not distinguish
thorn and eth.)