Modifier Letter Rhotic Hook

Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
edited June 30 in Technique and Theory
There is a letter in the unicode standard 'Modifier Letter Rhotic Hook' at $02DE.  I was wondering what it is used for and who uses it ?
Which languages (if any) use this character and is it worth including in a font ?
I have looked on the internet but apart from it appearing in the unicode standard there seems to be very little information about it.
I suppose the main question is 'Is this character in wide useage ?'
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Comments

  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 508
    edited June 30
    These pages may be what you are looking for:
    ::edit:: Ignore those links. I just realized they apply to consonants.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    Only eight characters use the hook, they’re rarely used, and they’re in Unicode. So it seems like a character that’s probably never going to be used.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 158
    edited June 30
    It's a mark used in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) to denote an r-colored or rhotacized vowel used in some regional accents.

    For example, in most American English, a hard r is used in words like, well, hard. One exception being the accent typically associated with Boston. Most British accents tend to drop the r in these kinds of words (again, with regional exceptions).

    The rhotic hook is added to the right side of the preceding vowel to indicate that, in a particular regional accent, the r that follows it is pronounced.

    As for including it in a font, probably not, unless you also include all the other IPA diacritics.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    Only eight characters use the hook, they’re rarely used, and they’re in Unicode. So it seems like a character that’s probably almost never going to be used.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    edited June 30
    Thank you all for the information.  I will leave it out.
    I just wondered because 'Times New Roman' has this character as a modifier character which can be added to 'A' to 'Z' and 'a' to 'z' plus some accented characters.  It is in the open type features as a modifier character which actually extends the advance width of the character to which it is applied, unlike a diacritic which doesn't affect the advance width.
    I thought there must be some hidden importance which I had missed.
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    I read somewhere not long ago (but, sorry, I can't find it again now) that, since the only combinations of letter + rhotic hook that ever occur are already in Unicode, 02de is only useful if you need to discuss the rhotic hook.

    Reading that gave me great pleasure.
  • Jens KutilekJens Kutilek Posts: 232
    What are the other Unicode codepoints of all the vowels with rhotic hook? I know only two: ɝ (U+025D) and ɚ (U+025A).
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    There's just those two. In a book called The Unicode Cookbook for Linguists, of which I can see a few pages via Google Books, the authors seem to consider this a problem, and they allude to "other combinations of vowels with rhotic hooks" which need to be made with 02DE. An official IPA chart shows as an example a with rhotic hook. Isn't it a problem, though, that 02DE is not meant to be a combining mark? What would be the best way to handle this?
  • Jens KutilekJens Kutilek Posts: 232
    @James Puckett was mentioning eight characters that can combine with the rhotic hook.

     I did some more research and IPA seems to define 28 vowel characters. In theory, each should be able to combine with the rhotic hook.

    Most of these could be handled with a mark positioning feature to combine nicely, but the ones marked here in red need special attention (these include the two characters that are defined in Unicode). Those combinations could be replaced by a precomposed glyph when they occur.


  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 425
    edited July 3
    I’m pretty sure that it would be rather difficult to produce a rhoticized vowel which isn't in the neutral (mid-central) position (since that’s essentially where r is articulated) as a monophthong. I suspect that’s why IPA only encodes [ɚ] and [ɝ]. Anything else would likely be written as a diphthong (e.g. [iɚ̯] — essentially how a non-rhotic dialect of English might pronounce the vowel in 'fear').
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    edited July 3
    I've just looked at a couple of fonts that I would expect to do this intelligently. Doulos SIL makes 02DE a spacing modifier letter with a negative left sidebearing so that it overlaps with the preceding character: then the next character along respects the width of 02DE so there are no collisions. Doulos also includes a couple of anchors so that the positioning of the mark can be fine tuned:
    Brill does essentially the same thing, but without the anchors—perhaps because some apps appear to ignore the anchors on this glyph?
    Anyway, it looks (contra my earlier post) as if the 02DE really is useful.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 210
    <sigh>  maybe it would be best to include it if I want my font to be complete.  However I don't think the approach adopted by 'Times New Roman' is correct.  I will include the anchors so it can be attached to the characters in the graphic in Jens Kutilek's post.  Perhaps I will take a look at Doulos and Brill just to see how they work.

  • Jens KutilekJens Kutilek Posts: 232
    I’m pretty sure that it would be rather difficult to produce a rhoticized vowel which isn't in the neutral (mid-central) position (since that’s essentially where r is articulated) as a monophthong. I suspect that’s why IPA only encodes [ɚ] and [ɝ]. Anything else would likely be written as a diphthong (e.g. [iɚ̯] — essentially how a non-rhotic dialect of English might pronounce the vowel in 'fear').
    Wikipedia says:
    The r-colored vowels of General American can be written with "vowel-r" digraphs:
    • [ɚ]: hearseassertmirth (stressed, conventionally written [ɝ]); standarddinnerLincolnshire (unstressed)
    • [ɑ˞]: startcar
    • [ɔ˞]: northwar
    So there are at least a few more common ones in addition to the two Unicode characters.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,415
    edited July 4
    Mandarin apparently has tons of rhotacized vowels:
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    edited July 4
    Mandarin apparently has tons of rhotacized vowels:
    In the Wikipedia Erhua article Christian links to, 02DE rhotic hook occurs only via precomposed 025A (ɚ) and after u and 028A (ʊ). If the article can be trusted (always a question with Wikipedia), the situation could definitely be worse.
    But I'm having trouble finding out what the phonetic difference is between the rhotic hook and 02B5 "MODIFIER LETTER SMALL TURNED R WITH HOOK". The table in the article Christian links to uses both.
    (BTW: As a senior citizen with senior eyes, I'd like to register a mild protest against fonts that render these modifier letters very small and thin. I'm getting a crick in my neck leaning close to the screen to figure out what's going on!)

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 461
    edited July 5
    <sigh>  maybe it would be best to include it if I want my font to be complete.
    That depends. It only makes sense to do so if you want your font to provide full IPA support. If you do, it is quite possible that the modifier letter rhotic hook is not the only issue you will face.
    So before expending effort on resolving this issue, it would be advisable to check into how many other issues you will face, and their difficulty.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 354
    There's just those two. In a book called The Unicode Cookbook for Linguists, of which I can see a few pages via Google Books

    FWIW, I had the pleasure of proof-reading this book. The main that thrust of the book is the final two chapters which recommend a way for linguists to store information about orthography profiles for languages they're working on, and the first six chapters feel like they're working up to that, but it's still worth a read. As a langscipress book it's open source and the whole thing is available on github at https://github.com/unicode-cookbook/cookbook

  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    This is great! I've grabbed a copy, and very glad to have it. Three cheers for free scholarship!
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    Thank you, Denis. This is an extremely useful explanation.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 375
    I’m pretty sure that it would be rather difficult to produce a rhoticized vowel which isn't in the neutral (mid-central) position (since that’s essentially where r is articulated) as a monophthong. I suspect that’s why IPA only encodes [ɚ] and [ɝ]. Anything else would likely be written as a diphthong (e.g. [iɚ̯] — essentially how a non-rhotic dialect of English might pronounce the vowel in 'fear').
    I think what is difficult is subjective. The vowel quality for sure changes and maybe that's what might be in some far-fetched cases called rhotacism? For instance in
    [ˈkɑ˞],
    I would say in some dialects the upcoming [ɹ] may be sensed and expected and heard quite early into the [ɑ] (through this subtle yet present coloring), but I would still transcribe it as [ˈkɑ˞ɹ] (or maybe there are dialects that actually only perform the r letter as the vowel coloring, [ˈkɑ˞]?). Conversely, it always made me wonder how linguists insist on denoting the nasality of vowels preceding [n], where in reality I didn't hear much of an [n] before the actual [n] started to ring.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,415
    Conversely, it always made me wonder how linguists insist on denoting the nasality of vowels preceding [n], where in reality I didn't hear much of an [n] before the actual [n] started to ring.

    Compare the words «ban» and «bad» in American English; the vowels should be notably different. The former is nasalized and slightly raised.

  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 425
    edited July 8
    Also, compare those with «can’t», which for many Americans is pronounced [kʰæ̃t] with no [n] at all. If your native language is one which lacks phonemic nasal vowels, vowel nasalization is often heard as an [n] even when none is actually present.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 461
    edited July 8
    If your native language is one which lacks phonemic nasal vowels,
    And, of course, English is such a language. (Or, at least, the dialects thereof with which I am most familiar.)
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    I'm trying to take account of all the vowel + rhotic hook combinations I've seen. Mostly this is not difficult: ɝ, ɚ and a few others can be treated as ligatures, while for some kerning gives a good result.

    The most difficult combination is ɤ (ram's horns) + rhotic hook. When I've seen the combination online it's just been the two characters with no attempt to connect them. Following the recommendations here, with no kerning, I get this:
    Creating a ligature is not much better:
    I don't have any more thoughts about this. Do people here have any suggestions?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,657
    Something like this?


  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    John: I like that a lot. Thanks!
    Igor: these are very elegant. Are they all used by linguists, or are you after supplying a complete set just in case?
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 146
    Thanks, Peter. The set is based on what I found in a number of linguistic-aware fonts. I am trying not to use the "just in case" approach because the font is already very large (10k+ glyphs). But I am not a linguist so the set may be larger than the real need.
     
    This font family should be released next February (finally!). It includes a large phonetic set aimed to cover almost all linguist needs.



    The image does not show the phonetic glyphs that are part of "regular" Latin script, like ɑ, nor combining or modifier glyphs.

  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 72
    Nice, Igor! And better a few too many, I guess, than not meeting the need.
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