[KS] The Mystery of the Breve
gillick at gmail.com
Sun Sep 13 11:41:10 EDT 2009
This is an interesting problem -- one I hope will be readily solved.
First, I hope I can resist my normal response to PC problems ("Get a
Mac"), as Mac compatibility seems to be an issue.
I'm writing this e-mail on a Mac, BTW, a PowerBook running OS X
v10.5.8. I have some experience with installing fonts, including the
helpful Doulos SIL IPA font and figured it should be no trouble to
activate keyboard shortcuts to allow easy typing of breves, as well as
A quick Google for "breve character mac" led me to this blog post, http://eclassics.ning.com/forum/topics/using-macrons-and-breves-on
referencnig the US extended keyboard -- a software switch, not a
piece of hardware.
Googling "us extended mac" led me to these instructions for activating
diacritic keyboard shortcuts: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/accents/codemacext.html
It's a short process. Now I can type Option+B, o to get ŏ. That's a
lower-case "o" with a breve. I wonder if it will survive the trip
through the listserv.
I'm pretty sure the characters should persist in a unicode-aware
application. Current versions of most software are unicode-aware,
including Word back to Word 97, so moving documents to a PC shouldn't
be a problem. For Mac users, Word, Pages, OpenOffice -- even TextEdit
I hope things work as well on your system.
Digital and Broadcast Media
/ Arts Communication
Google IM: Gillick
SL: Ed Stockton
On Sep 12, 2009, at 9:35 PM, Brother Anthony wrote:
> I hope that I might ask a question related to romanization but
> separate from the work of the committee. It concerns the technical
> problem of the breves.
> Once upon a time, the scholar wrote his text with a fountain pen,
> including the breves. He passed it to his secretary to be typed; she
> added the breves with her fountain pen after typing. It went to the
> printer who set up the pages line by line on his linotype, stopping
> to pick out the individual breved letters from their special boxes
> with tweezers and inserting them by hand into their proper place in
> the line of type he was setting. The line was cast and the text was
> printed. It took time . . .
> Today, using a computer, if I want to search for a MR word which
> includes a breved letter in a search engine, include such a word
> into an email or into a blog or web page, I have first to open my
> word-processing program, type the word, inserting the breved letter
> as a 'special character' either using 'insert' or a shortcut, mark
> it, copy it, move back to the other window, paste it and move ahead.
> This is because it is completely impossible for anyone to simply
> type a breved letter into any word-processing program, email
> program, blog or webpage search or compose window in the way a
> French person using a French keyboard can type an accented letter.
> In addition, we know that any email, blog, or web page into which we
> have inserted such a special character will more often than not
> (more than 50% of the time, I am told) fail to work when viewed on
> another computer, even using the same browser; the special
> characters will usually be seen as ? or as some kind of blob.
> Moreover, the text of a 500-page book composed on a PC using (say)
> MSWord, into which we have carefully inserted breved characters as
> above, once it has been sent to the editor or printer (not only in
> the US) will usually be transported into a Mac environment. Each
> breved character, to say nothing of apostrophes and the dashes if
> not hyphens, disappears and someone has to go through the entire
> text, looking at a printout of the original, re-inserting the
> breved characters etc (which is said to be especially tricky on a
> Mac, I don't know). It is also not possible to use the MSWord
> 'search and replace' function to introduce as 'replace' a word with
> a breved letter.
> So my question is: in the light of this set of problems with breved
> letters, which are with us every day and will not be going away any
> time soon, WHY is there still, in 2009, no concerted move among the
> (very limited) number of people regularly using MR to revise it and
> get rid of those impossible breves? What is the great advantage of
> retaining them? Do they have magic powers? I just do not understand
> Brother Anthony
> Sogang University, Seoul
> Sogang University
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