Underlining

On 8 March 2008 I wrote a short blog on Kāi Tahu Māori. You can see the complete post on this page. In that post I made two claims which I repeat here for convenience:

The letter k used to write KTM is unique in two respects. (1) it is the only orthographic symbol which incorporates underlining. (2) it is used to reference two different dialects of a language — in effect it means a [k] sound, which in other types of Māori is an [ŋ] sound.

(2) above I still believe to be true, but (1) definitely is not.

Having been trawling through Omniglot, I have come across a handful of languages which use a Latin-based script and which use underlining for various purposes.

For instance, a few Native American languages which indicate voiceless vowels this way. An example is Comanche which has voiceless versions of all its six vowels <a e i o u ʉ> (the last represents [ə]). So <a> = [ḁ], <e> = [e̥] etc.

More on this another time.

3 thoughts on “Underlining

  1. Similarly, some Breton orthographies (there are rival ones) use to represent a sound that is /z/ in some dialects and /h/ in others. People unaware of this have been known to pronounce ‘Breizh’ (Brittany) with a final palato-alveolar fricative!

  2. For some reason the ‘zh’ I put between angled brackets does not appear! So, the above makes little sense!! It should read:

    Similarly, some Breton orthographies (there are rival ones) use ‘zh’ to represent a sound that is /z/ in some dialects and /h/ in others. People unaware of this have been known to pronounce ‘Breizh’ (Brittany) with a final palato-alveolar fricative!

  3. Martin,

    Ah yes! Of course you are right.

    Hmmmm
    <zh>

    You need to use & l t; and & g t; (without the spaces of course) to get the angled brackets, otherwise WordPress attempts to interpret it as an HTML tag!

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