Sunday, March 05, 2006

About characters ...

Everyone that has learned the Dutch language knows the alphabet. The Dutch alphabet ends with: ..x, ij, z. That means for Dutch is not ..x, y, z. The "Y" or "y" is called the "Griekse ij. This is what you need to know to understand this post.

The problem is, when people type, the "ij" is not on the keyboard. Typically people use the US-International keyboard. And when you type "ij" It looks the same, it must be the same except for the fact that it is NOT the same. When you use a wordprocessor a sentence would be spell checked to read like "Ijs drijft in de sloot." not "IJs drijft in de sloot."

In WiktionaryZ we do want to do things RIGHT, except everybody DOES use the i and the j not the ij. How should we deal with issues like this. I tend to agree that it is a problem and ignore it. At some stage we will create the software that does these things on the fly.

I can have this opinion because it is my language, what if the same question is asked and it is not my language? How will we resolve them? To what extend will we be dogmatic, to what extend pragmatic??

Thanks,
GerardM

2 Comments:

Blogger Kipmaster said...

For your information, 'y' is called 'i grec' in French = 'Greek i'.

In French, we don't have such a letter in our alphabet, but we do have the same problem: every words (I think) where 'o' and 'e' are together must use the character œ, as in [[œil]]. Œ also exists. This character is not in our keyboard either, and I had to modify my keyboard layout to get it.

Such a transformation is automatically done by Word and Openoffice, but the difficult thing is that it’s language dependant (’oe’ exists in nl, as well as ’ij’ exists in fr), so we have to specify what language we are entering in the input box if we want the software to do the right correction.

The apostrophe may also be a problem, we use "’" in the French Wiktionary (because it’s the recommended apostrophe, and it’s prettier), but, 1/ the one which is on keyboards is "'", and 2/ I don’t know if that apostrophe is internationaly recommended.

Sorry, I don’t have a solution right now, I just wanted to say that the problem is (alas) not for nl only ;-)

Cheers,
-- Kipcool

12:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The preferred Unicode character to use for punctuation apostrophe is U+2019. (’) See http://www.unicode.org/unicode/reports/tr8/#Apostrophe%20Semantics%20Errata and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe_(mark)#Computers_and_Unicode

On a seperate note, the IJ Unicode character is actually deprecated. People are supposed to use IJ - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IJ_%28letter%29

12:30 am  

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