[sword-devel] Hyphens in book names

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Thu Sep 30 07:49:37 MST 2010

All of this discussion about whether the hyphen is the proper
character that should have been used or whether some holy, blessed
POSIX/Unicode committee deemed - is valid for use as a letter or
whether it can only be punctuation is probably interesting.  But it's
probably not interesting to Robert, who wants to know about his real
world language.

He says he was the translator for this language.  Now, I don't know
about his particular case, but many such Bible translators are working
with languages which are completely unwritten at the time that they
start.  One of their early tasks is creating an alphabet of usable
characters - distinct from the IPA they use professionally because of
the difficulty of using these on a computer - and it sounds like
Robert's translation team chose the hyphen character as one of these.
You might disagree and want to roast him for that choice, but older
English speakers might wish to do the same to us for inventing the W
and J characters unnecessarily.  I would hardly consider ' to be a
letter, but in the native Hawaiian language it is a letter
representing a glottal stop.

For the language under discussion, - is a letter.  Argue it how you
want, condemn it how you want, or contribute to helping come up with a
solution if you want.  Valid solutions do not include "Ignore it",
"Leave it out" or "Change your language's orthography to include
something else instead."  Opinions like that, within this arena, are
completely unconstructive the same way telling Germans to stop using
letters with an umlaut because they do not appear on an American
keyboard or in the English alphabet would not be constructive.

I suggested allowing the valid numerals, punctuation marks and range
specifying characters to be localized.  DM has proposed a more
detailed implementation with similar ideas.  So can we get off our
high horses about Unicode and POSIX locale purity and constructively
talk about implementing a solution that allows Robert to use his
language's Bible in our software, or are we going to say "Sorry, we
won't support your language because it uses unapproved Unicode
characters as letters"?


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