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Re: logban '
The main reason for not transscribing apostrophe as "h" is NOT that it is not
equivalent to "h", which is true but a less important point. The important
feature about apostrophe is that it doesn't look like a normal alphanbetic
character in Lojban, and it is not. Regardless of the formal phonetics,
in Lojban ' is NOT a consonant. Nor is it a vowel. It is a pronunciation
guide that says devoice the glide between these two vowels when you
pronounce them as two syllables. It is contrasted against the close-comma
which means the same thing but without devoicing, with the period which
means not glide, but a full (or glottal) stop, and with null, which means
only one syllable. Thus all of the possible ways to divide the word do
not appear as alphabetic characters, and the most significant contrast - between
the common ' and the uncommon , are particularly evident and easy to learn.
Secondly, the Lojban morphology is structured around certain patterns of
letters and is dependent on whether they are consosnants or vowels - as defined
for the Lojban character set. Ignoring ' , and . as "non-characters"
all cmavo are V VV CV or CVV. All gismu are CVCCV or CCVCV. All lujvo are
broken down into units of non-final CVV(r/n) CVC(y) CCV CVCCy CCVCy and final
CVV CCV CCVCV CVCCV. All names end in consonants, and le'avla are most anything
else. Being able to decide that a word is not one of the first couple of types,
and therefore a le'avla, depends partly on being able to quickly recognizing the
breakdown of lujvo into 3 and 5 letter segments, with the r/n/y hyphens at
appropriate places. Throw in an insignificant "h" and those patterns become
harder to see, and much harder to learn. Given that, for example. Frank S.
has said that he finds breaking lujvo up into pieces difficult, he may need
to concentrate on learning and looking for the patterns, at which point the
apostrophe will be seen as more valuable.
Notwithstanding this, the "h" is recognized as an alternate to apostrophe as
part of a larger system of alternate orthography that is used to make the
language look more similar to other forms of Loglan. People who are writing
in that alternate orthography are welcome to use the "h", and we will probably
come up with computerized routines sometime that will translate between this
standard alternate and the official orthography so that the rest of us can
read the text easily. (I find it difficult to read text with the "h" in
EXCEPT when it is a lower case h in all capitals, as it is in the standard
names of the selma'o (word categories), which could not use ' because of the
limitations of YACC (a unix-related computer program) and hence uses the lower-
case "h" instead.