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 Post subject: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:34 am 
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I'm trying to identify some Latin letters that appear in the work of Christian Vander and his band Magma. Vander's "Kobaïan" lyrics and titles are heavy on the diacritics, but most are easily recognizable, if not necessarily common combinations. There are three, though, that I can't pin down: a G with "horns", an S with a "crown", and some sort of E. I'd like to know how best to represent them in text, if possible.


Last.FM's listing for Ẁurdah Ïtah spells track 6 as "Ẁohldünt Mᴧëm Dëẁëlëss", using U+1D27 GREEK LETTER SMALL CAPITAL LAMDA, but that can't be right. The Lyrics Wikia uses "/e" for the strange E. In both sites the S-with-crown tends to get reduced to simple S, although these are distinct in the original text (the Ẁ also usually loses its grave, though that is less problematic, because a W never appears without one in Kobaïan). This (unofficial) Kobaïan-English glossary, which ignores all diacritics, ASCIIfies the strange E as "^e", as does Discogs, which preserves the umlauts and all diacritics on French titles.

Are these original to Vander, or do they have precedents? How should I represent them in text data (e.g. ID3 tags and in music databases)?


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:44 pm 
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These are original, and seem to be simple typographic variants of G, S, and Ë. As such, they should be represented by G, S, and Ë.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:58 pm 
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I'm not sure what you mean by "simple typographic variants of G, S, and Ë". They are not used interchangeably with those letters, so they are clearly not variant glyphs, and folding them in with basic G, S, and Ë would be information loss (albeit of a sort that most people probably wouldn't care about, since it's effectively unintelligible anyway).


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:51 am 
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Looking a the samples, I wonder whether they actually used a specialized font, or whether they used a typesetting system like TeX, where one can create new "glyphs" by positioning various shapes to overprint.

That the casing differences are shown only as size differences, with the glyphs clearly scaled, rather than re-drawn for the smaller size, is another indication that the production did not use a specialized font.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to be possible to create the same effect with the existing set of combining marks.

There are some literary works where unusual typographic devices are worth standardizing even though they were created a for a single work or single author. This can be the case when there is a level of ongoing scholarship with a need to cite text passages. In that case, such forms become indistinguishable from other academic or scholarly notations. Not every single new symbol gets encoded immediately, but if something is in widespread and regular enough use, it may qualify.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:35 pm 
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You're right about the casing.

I doubt they used TeX. Some of those albums are from the mid-70s, before TeX existed. It's a possibility for the recent ones. Overprinting may be a possibility for some, though I don't see a way to produce the slash-e that way.

I don't know if there's any ongoing scholarship per se about Magma's works. Outside of fans, citation is mainly in online music databases such as Last.FM or MusicBrainz.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:43 pm 
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TeX dates to 1978... the relevant next question is: "what were phototypesetting systems of the day capable of?"

About the slash-E, I keep thinking I've seen that shape somewhere.

The question any standards body faces is whether a large (enough) body of users will benefit from the effort involved in standardization. On top of that come some additional considerations, such as treating living languages on the same footing irrespective of the magnitude of the population that uses their written form, and/or to cover academic/scholarly uses somewhat evenly.

In that context usage by fan communities has not normally been considered on the same level. Perhaps based on the consideration that orthographies and scholarly notations have a record of some longevity and assigning Unicode code points is "forever".

How do online databases cope today? Would they use full Unicode notation, if available?

If the actual shapes were generated by overprinting (as seems likely) then working out the constituent parts would ensure a proper "definition" of the shape to be encoded. The samples are too low resolution to allow a definite digital outline to be created from them. (Which would be one of the requirements for encoding).

Also, a clear accounting of who would use these characters in what contexts would be essential.

Still no guarantee that this would be enough to sway the UTC, but I think that at least it would take care of some of the necessary prerequisites.


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 Post subject: Re: Need help identifying some unusual Latin letters
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:24 am 
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asmus wrote:
The question any standards body faces is whether a large (enough) body of users will benefit from the effort involved in standardization. On top of that come some additional considerations, such as treating living languages on the same footing irrespective of the magnitude of the population that uses their written form, and/or to cover academic/scholarly uses somewhat evenly.

In that context usage by fan communities has not normally been considered on the same level. Perhaps based on the consideration that orthographies and scholarly notations have a record of some longevity and assigning Unicode code points is "forever".

Right, I really wasn't expecting to turn this into a formal request, and I'm probably not in the best position to do so anyway, seeing as how M. Vander speaks little English (AIUI) and I know no French.

I was mainly interested in finding out if these were original to the band, or if they were just some obscure but pre-existing characters (or even ones that were already in Unicode but that I'd just missed, which wouldn't be hard if you don't know what they should be called...the Latin range is huge!)

Quote:
How do online databases cope today? Would they use full Unicode notation, if available?

MusicBrainz (and Last.FM, which usually defers to MusicBrainz) tries to be as accurate as possible, even putting the combining grave over Ws. It uses ᴧ as a substitute for the slash-e, and just S for the s-with-crown. The G-with-horns doesn't seem to show up in track titles but maybe I'm just missing it.

The Unofficial Kobaian-English Dictionary uses an ASCII transliteration (with slash-e represented by ^e). The Lyrics Wikia seems to be Unicode but only using common precomposed characters: they use /e for the slash-e, Š for s-with-crown, and just G for g-with-horns.

The Seventh Records site, Magma's label, seems to be limited to the Latin-1 range, probably because they're just using French keyboards. Interestingly, they use AE for slash-e, so it may possibly be some kind of variant of æ̈, but if so it's a pretty strange one.

Quote:
The samples are too low resolution to allow a definite digital outline to be created from them. (Which would be one of the requirements for encoding).

If you click on the images on Tinypic it should pop up a larger pic for most of them. I can always rescan them if that's still insufficient.

Quote:
Also, a clear accounting of who would use these characters in what contexts would be essential.

I'm not sure how I would go about doing that. Aside from general music databases, I would expect these characters mostly to be used in discussion of the band: blogs, magazine articles, forums, Wikipedia, etc.


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