[tlhIngan Hol] Klingon Word of the Day: luS

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Fri May 24 08:55:59 PDT 2019

On 5/24/2019 11:17 AM, Lieven L. Litaer wrote:
> Am 24.05.2019 um 16:58 schrieb SuStel:
>> You gave two arguments against the left single quotation mark U+2019:
>> it's aesthetically unpleasing, and Okrand doesn't use it.
>> Those arguments are also true about the apostrophe U+0027: no
>> typographer worth their salt would recommend its use for aesthetic
>> reasons, and Okrand doesn't use it.
>> So while you SAY use of the apostrophe is fine, the reasons you give for
>> not using the left single quotation mark also apply against the 
>> apostrophe.
> Then maybe my arguments were not complete and you have overinterpreted
> them.

Right. That's it. I've "overinterpreted" you. This may officially be the 
dumbest argument ever.

> Okrand has definitely used the simple apostrophe. And now, to
> remain very strict nitpicking: the apostrophe is named apostreophe in
> TKD, so this should lead to the situation that every kind of symbol that
> representes an apostrophe IS acceptable as an apostrophe.

Okay, here's a job for you people with Okrand's email address. Ask him 
this. Please don't elaborate or try to get him to phrase the answer in 
any particular way. Just ask this:

"Does it matter which direction the line goes in the symbol we use to 
represent the glottal stop in Klingon?"

> The simple '
> apostrophe IS an apostrophe, so it actually even does not matter whether
> okrand has used it or not. Nevertheless, he HAS used it, so need to
> argue here.
> Let's set it straight again for clarity:
> Okrand has used the simple '
> Okrand has used the curly ’
> simple ' is defined as apostrophe
> curly ’ is defined as apostrophe
> left ‘ is NOT defined as apostrophe
> left ‘ has NOT been used by Okrand

And that's all fine and dandy. Go forth and use ' or ’ in the firm 
knowledge that you are mimicking the character choices used by Okrand 
himself. Amen.

/The Klingon glottal stop is not an apostrophe./ Okrand uses a couple of 
different symbols to represent the glottal stop, one of which Unicode 
calls an apostrophe, and one of which typesetters call an apostrophe 
when there is no encoding associated with it. He does not mandate which 
symbol is "correct," only that he uses an effing typesetter's apostrophe 
in TKD. Physical typefaces are not encodings.

>> It's about the correct symbol to use to represent the Klingon glottal
>> stop. And I maintain that it is not actually necessary to exclude the
>> left single quotation mark from that role. I don't choose it for myself,
>> but my preference is individual to me. I'm not proclaiming it to be 
>> wrong.
> As you wish. It's my preference to write a zero for an O and.

You go right ahead. I'm sure that seems like exactly the same issue to you.

>> Okrand was NOT referencing the Unicode standard when he wrote TKD.
> Surely not, but he said that it's an apostrophe. left single quote is
> not an apostrophe. Why don't you want to accept that?

The apostrophe Okrand speaks of in TKD is what a typesetter with a 
physical typeface recognizes as an apostrophe. It's defined by its 
shape, not its Unicode encoding (which it doesn't have because it's a 
physical piece of type). But Okrand is happy to use a typewriter-style 
straight apostrophe in place of a bend-to-the-left apostrophe when it's 
convenient for him to do so. He changes the symbol he uses. The effing 
symbol he uses is not that important.

If you were typesetting a book or other publication that you wanted to 
look good, you would surely choose to use a right single quotation mark 
or a typewriter-style apostrophe, because they look good. But when 
you're not dealing with important typography, it really doesn't matter 
which symbols you use.

>> Your little character stunt in your email shows how well we humans can
>> ignore encoding issues so long as the typeface is familiar. It doesn't
>> matter whether you type an /l/ or a /ɭ,/ I can understand you just fine.
>> Thank you for demonstrating my point for me.
> You're welcome. It was my intention that you may find it annoying, but
> obviously you don't. You probably just don't want to admit.

It look me a few moments to even notice it.

>> I notice you used a hyphen-minus character after your /Ah./ As a marker
>> of an interruption, the correct character to use, according to most
>> style guides, is an em dash: —. I see you also used three periods to
> Since when do you care about style guides?

I've always been quite interested in style guides and typography. When 
Lawrence sent me a style guide for some translation work, I told him I 
was pleased for having it; it answered a lot of the questions I would 
have struggled with otherwise when working on a translation for him. 
What type of quotation marks should I use? Do I mark foreign-language 
terms? How? Which foreign terms get transliterated? These are the sorts 
of things that style guides are good for. They're not grammatical rules; 
they're the rules to follow for a particular publication.

>> indicate a pause. Why didn't you use the Unicode ellipsis character, …?
> Because I was using the easiest accessable letters available from my
> keyboard. These include dots, minus-hyphens and also an apostrophe. If I
> decide to make a fancy apostrophe, I choose the one that is defined as
> apostrophe, hitting Alt+0146. I don't choose anything else that just
> looks like one only because I think it's nice.

Then why aren't you using Unicode Modifier Letter Apostrophe, U+02BC, 
especially for Klingon? "Modifier letters in Unicode generally are 
considered part of a word, this is preferred when the apostrophe is 
considered as a letter in its own right, rather than punctuation that 
separates letters." "Some consider, though, that this character should 
be used for the apostrophe in English instead of U+0027 or U+2019." 
(Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Unicode>)

It's because what Unicode gives you is a standard, not a mandate. If 
some style guide told you to use U+2018 as an apostrophe, you'd do it. 
Which symbols we use depends on how we want to use them.

Using U+2018 is not "wrong." It's just not standard. There is a 
difference. And that's all that this stupid argument has been about.


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