Does any language use the straight quote as an orthographic letter?

Some sources claim that some languages use /quotesingle for glottal stop, palatalization, etc. For example this Wikipedia article on Maasai.
I suppose the knowledge and consensus on this is limited depending on the language in question, but... Is it probable that for a lot of these, the typographically correct form is /quoteright or even better /uni02BC modifier letter apostrophe?

Comments

  • In European languages it's used as abbreviation sign for not pronounced vocals like d'Aviano (meaning "of Aviano"), "it's" in English, colloquial German ("hat's" = "hat es" EN "has it"). I call this in-word punctuation. But the correct usage would be an apostrophe for this purpose.

    In Hawaiian  and other Oceanic languages they should use ʻOkina as a glottal stop. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaiian_alphabet#%CA%BBOkina. There is a character for it in Unicode, but I don't remember where. Now found a good description also for other languages: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CA%BBOkina

    U+02BB MODIFIER LETTER TURNED COMMA 

    In reality they use something that looks like it on the keyboard. I know this, because the Oceanic or Polynesian languages are the only ones throwing errors if I strictly check my wordlists of 2300 languages against \p{word} Unicode property/character class. 

    Maasai seems not to use glottal stop. Cannot find a reliable description of the alphabet or writing system, not in WWS (The Worlds Writing Systems), nor via Google.

    I can give you some examples from my Maasai wordlist:


    amʉ̂
    peê
    ɛná
    ɛnâ
    oshî
    ŋolé
    Ɛshɔmɔ̂
    ɨltʉŋaná

    But this looks unreliable if not rotten for me, and there are only 1484 different words in my list. Usually I have 50000 word per language. But for languages not so popular it's hard to get larger corpora.

    Also many languages do not have stable orthography. One example is Yiddish.

  • See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottal_stop which explains in detail which languages use which character for glottal stop. Some use single quote.

    Seems the circumflex is used for glottal stop in my Maasai wordlist.

    I should compile character frequency lists of the languages and publish them. 

    Thanks for the question.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 630
    The article I quoted states:
    The Maasai variety of ɔl Maa as spoken in southern Kenya and Tanzania has 30 contrasting sounds, which can be represented and alphabetized as followsː a, b, ch (a variant of sh), d, e, ɛ, g, h, i, ɨ, j, k, l, m, n, ny, ŋ, o, ɔ, p, r, rr, s, sh (with variant ch), t, u, ʉ, w, wu (or ww), y, yi (or yy), and the glottal stop ' (or ʔ).
    Obviously a lot of these languages do not have a fixed or official orthography (thus sometimes using the apostrophe, sometimes the IPA glottal stop letter, or other means), but some might have one. The Hawaiian usage is pretty obvious, as the character used there is the turned comma (analogous to the opening quote), which I find slightly less easily confused with the straight quote, and Hawaii is part of the US, so “a civilized land”.
    My question was mostly about African languages, and more specifically if anyone knows of a strong preference for the straight quote as opposed to the curly quote. Word lists are not likely to be helpful here, I’m afraid, as the people compiling them might not have been typographers.
    As for European languages, is there an excuse to ever use uni0022 and uni0027 when setting text, so outside of programming, Google searches, everyday layman use? Books always use uni2019 for the apostrophe (I presume), and for feet and inches there’s minute and second uni2032 uni2033.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 573
    edited January 12
    I don't know much about African languages, but some transliterations use the sign. If memory serves, the Arabic aijn is transliterated using a comma (ʿ) - and Arabic is a major African language - and pinyin uses it to separate Chinese syllabes (http://www.pinyin.info/romanization/hanyu/apostrophes.html).
    There are certainly some cases when it went into use in African languages, but that's a pretty big field and requires a team of experts.
    I can imagine some national body in some developing country didn't exactly know the difference between this and a straight quote and included it. Or it shoul have been an apostrophe but technology wasn't developed enough and they substituted, wrote diacritics in textbooks by hand etc. Africa is a pretty big and diverse place.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 630
    ʿ
    This is a modifier letter left half ring.
    Africa is a pretty big and diverse place.
    So is the internet :)
  • Even German typographers can't agree which type of quotes are the right one, opening low and closing high versus guillemets. And with feet and inches as a fontmaker you shouldn't forget U+2034 ′′′ TRIPLE PRIME = lines (old measure, 1/12 of an inch).

    As for Maasai there is no established orthography. The only scientific source is Prof. Doris L. Payne of Oregon University. She used sound recordings to explore the language and developed a writing systems for it. The only written source she references is written in a Swahili-based orthography. Other sources are small dictionaries for tourists based on ASCII-letters.

    The article you quoted states "which can be represented and alphabetized as follows". I read this as an advice from linguistic scholars to other linguistic scholars, how they can transcribe the sounds into a Latin-based alphabet. It's for scientists sitting in a library far away at the other side of the globe, not for the real usage by Maasai.
  • Even German typographers can't agree which type of quotes are the right one, opening low and closing high versus guillemets.
    Among German typographers it is common knowlegde that both low/high Gänsefüßchen - as well as guillemets »-« are acceptable and good practice. There is a limitation to this only for blackletter setting, where „“ is appropriate, but »« would not be (by traditional measures).
  • Among German typographers it is common knowlegde that both low/high Gänsefüßchen - as well as guillemets »-« are acceptable and good practice. There is a limitation to this only for blackletter setting, where „“ is appropriate, but »« would not be (by traditional measures).
    Of course, I know. I have a 5-years education in printing technology.

    But there are nitpickers meaning only guillemets are the right quotes and other nitpickers say exactly the opposite. Just a short test in my small library showed my both in the first 5 books I randomly picked. As a curiosity from the same publisher, same series, Suhrkamp, Steppenwolf has guillemets pointing «outside», while Siddharta has the usual »inside« pointing ones. 

    In old blackletter (Fraktur, Schwabacher) the lower quotes had the same shape as the comma (a stroke coming from virgl, not a 9). They took the same punch form. And the upper quotes where just turned 180 degrees. Usually punctuation was taken from the typeface of the last word. But, never say never, last week I saw a book mixing antiqua, cursive, Schwabacher, and Fraktur periods without recognisable rule.
  • Frode HellandFrode Helland Posts: 149
    edited January 12
    Perhaps relevant information: The ʹ (MODIFIER LETTER PRIME, U+02B8) is specified by a few of the romanization systems for Ukrainian, Armenian and Uzbek, along with one of the Sami languages (either for marking palatalisation, or for transliteration soft/hard sign in various iterations). I am not completely clear on the correct rendering of this character however, as the prime is sometimes drawn vertical and other times right-leaning. The fact that Unicode encodes various reversed primes should be a strong indicator, but some otherwise reputable sources seem to disagree.
  • There is a limitation to this only for blackletter setting, where „“ is appropriate, but »« would not be (by traditional measures).
    Never say never. If it's possible, it will happen.


  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,546
    edited January 13
    But there are nitpickers meaning only guillemets are the right quotes and other nitpickers say exactly the opposite.
    I loathe the low Anführungszeichen, they feel like starting a sentence with a comma. «Guillemets» are obviously superior. I even use them in English!
    As a curiosity from the same publisher, same series, Suhrkamp, Steppenwolf has guillemets pointing «outside», while Siddharta has the usual »inside« pointing ones.
    That's the Swiss style, which is what I'm using as well. (Outside of German language, lots of countries use that style too.)
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 573
    edited January 13
    I loathe the low Anführungszeichen
    I think someone once told me both kinds should be used when there are quotes within quotes, similar as in English. I was taught the Gänsefüßchen in school and never considered there could be other possibilities.
  • To be fair, I don’t use guillemets in handwriting. I use high double quotes there, as in English (even when writing German). Cherrypicker, I know! 🙄
  • Uwe WaldmannUwe Waldmann Posts: 4
    edited January 13
    Many indigenous languages of the Americas, in particular Mexico, use a sign called Saltillo for the glottal stop (U+A78B and U+A78C, sometimes cased, sometimes caseless). Technically, this is not a straight quote, but it looks exactly like a (possibly enlarged) straight quote or like a dotless exclamation mark.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,955
    Not the straight quote character per se, but a closely related form: 

    A78B Ꞌ LATIN CAPITAL LETTER SALTILLO
    A78C ꞌ LATIN SMALL LETTER SALTILLO

    Used for a glottal stop consonant in some indigenous Mexican language orthographies.
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