Which is krazier: LOLCAT Bible or ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in mixed-case phonetics?

joeclark's picture

Our esteemed colleague, the sometimes unsympathetic Michael Everson, has embarked upon a project to transliterate Alice in Wonderland in IPA phonetics, with full upper and lower case. (John Wells, who broke this red-hot newsflash on his blog, later complained about confusability of æ and œ digraphs.)

Nick Shinn's picture


Distinct enough in (Adobe) Caslon?

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Michael, do you pursue up-casing phonetics entirely?
If you must do so, please stop at the threshold of Teuthonista ;-)

jcrippen's picture

Here’s an interesting puzzle: how do you uppercase a small caps symbol? In the IPA there are a couple of them: ʙ, ʟ, ɢ, ɴ, ʀ, ʜ, ʛ, ɪ, ʏ, ɶ. Everson didn’t have to deal with any of these because they represent sounds that aren’t used in English. There are a bunch of other ones used in non-IPA phonetics inventories, like ᴀ, ᴁ, ᴃ, ᴄ, ᴅ ᴆ, ᴇ, ꜰ, ᴊ, ᴋ, ᴌ, ᴍ, ᴎ, ᴏ, ᴐ, ᴕ, ᴘ, ꝶ, ꜱ, ᴛ, ᴜ, ᴠ, ᴡ, ᴢ, and ᴣ. There are even Greek ones around like ᴦ, ᴧ, ᴨ, ᴩ, and ᴪ. Even Cyrillic makes an appearance with ᴫ. There aren’t Unicode case pairs for any of these, but how would someone design an uppercase version of a small cap letter without it looking the same as the ordinary uppercase?

Joshua Langman's picture

Well, isn't the point of small caps that they look like capitals, but smaller? So why not make "uppercase" size versions of lowercase letters? The opposite of small caps is … large lowercase!

riccard0's picture

Mixed-case phonetics is an oxymoron.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

> how would someone design an uppercase version of a small cap letter without it looking the same as the ordinary uppercase?

You simply can’t.

John Hudson's picture

Well, if Michael is using uppercase in his Alice, then he is not really using IPA, since the IPA alphabet has no uppercase (and doesn't need one).

Joe, I think 'transliterating' is the wrong term to use here: transliteration refers to script-to-script text mapping. The IPA alphabet provides for phonetic transcription of spoken language, which I presume is what Michael is doing: i.e. transcribing the oral pronunciation of the text. And that's an odd project, since English pronunciation isn't exactly standardised. I wonder, is the transcription how Michael pronounces it? how Dodgson would have pronounced it? how someone in the Ozarks would pronounce it?

Nick Shinn's picture

Orson Wells or John Huston, but you would need a somewhat heavy face to convey corresponding gravitas.

cerulean's picture

I am interested in seeing how he handles the one test of his mindfulness:

"Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?"
"Sure, it's an arm, yer honour!" (He pronounced it "arrum.")
"An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one that size? Why, it fills the whole window!"
"Sure it does, yer honour: but it's an arm for all that."

joeclark's picture

I believe Mr. EVERSON is indeed transliterating English script into his own invented IPA-manqué script.

hrant's picture

I do hope Michael shows up to explain his rationale.

hhp

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