Victor Manfredi — joint projects
The selected texts, at various degrees of publication, are posted in .pdf format unless otherwise noted. Critiques are invited, especially data
corrections, in addition to the ones already posted here in the supplementary comments.
Philological boilerplate plus Unicode crib sheet
Àjàyí Crowther's orthographic subdot, adopted in 1851 to signify the systematic phonetic feature [+ narrow pharynx]
— better known after Chomsky & Halle (1968) as [‑ATR] — is an essential piece of tech for tens of millions
of 9ja literates. In principle, it can be digitally rendered as the Unicode glyph U+0329 ("combining vertical line below") = HTML "& # 8
0 9 ;" (without the wordspaces), or alternatively as U+0323 ("combining dot below") = HTML "& # 8 0 3 ;" (without the wordspaces), but
in practice this patch leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, not all browsers display the subdot, so some readers of this page will see
nothing under the first two vowels of É̩hu̩gbò. For another, the kerning
(horizontal alignment) of this kludge is chaotic, especially in book‑quality faces in sizes above 8 pt. Even in certain typefaces wishfully
called "Unicode compliant", legibility is woeful as can be verified by inspection of the enclosed test
page, which was prepared at random. (Real published examples can be much worse.) Polite inquiries to The
Unicode Consortium about this unsatisfactory status quo were replied (email of M.D., 25 September 2008, available on
request) with a smooth blend of bureaucratic indifference ("The disclaimer you mentionned [sic] in your email *is* absolute, and these
combinations will not be encoded, so you should not waste your time making a proposal for them") and lazy palming off of the problem to
apocalyptic and politically radioactive SIL/WBT missionaries, who are assumed to 'own' subdotted roman scripts, maybe based on an implied
metaphysical 'ownership' of the speakers of the respective languages ("Those look fine with a font like Doulos SIL that can handle them").
(And anyone who thinks that pentacostal interventions are harmless has not observed the condition of civil society in evangelized West
Africa of recent decades.) This is a nice illustration of how priorities are set, who benefits and so on, under neoliberalism. The ruling
elite in Abuja could choose to take a benevolent interest in the problem, but the opposite has been the case: in late 2006 while preoccupied
with funding the PDP's 2007 auto‑succession campaign, General "Kánkpé" went so far as to cancel the parastatal autonomy of the National
Institute for Nigerian Languages in a fit of pique at its second executive director, who did not understand the plain meaning of the
expression o̩mo̩lúwàbí percentage (cf. Guardian [Lagos], 25 July 2008
and emails of A.A. and O.E., 19 January and 3 September 2007).
[NOTE: Technically savvier discussion of these points, plus more doctrinal pushback from Unicode defenders, appeared on Language Log shortly after my own hapless collision with the planet's typographic authorities. Maybe we need to update Max Weinreich's immortal wisecrack about glossopolitics to something like "A language is a dialect with precomposed diacritics."]
Thanks to the clout of Vietnamese and romanized Indic languages in corporate software's higher echelons, an integrated
(precomposed), therefore correctly aligned and (we can hope) unambiguously searchable subdot has been made available for upper and lower
roman vowels and s. This resource accidentally represents real progress for any users of 9ja orthographies who choose not to mark
tone, or even for those who are prepared to play the lottery of combining tonemark alignment. Here are the Unicode and HTML (remove
wordspaces) bit addresses for the subdotted letters most commonly used in 9ja orthographies, and for the nonintegrated but nonspacing (i.e.
possibly "combining") acute and grave accents as well as the less important macron, plus a more fully descriptive link for each:
U + 1 E A 1 = & # 7 8 4 1 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH
U + 1 E B 9 = & # 7 8 6 5 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH
U + 1 E C B = & # 7 8 8 3 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH
U + 1 E C D = & # 7 8 8 5 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH
U + 1 E E 5 = & # 7 9 0 9 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER U WITH
U + 1 E 6 3 = & # 7 7 7 9 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER S WITH
U + 1 E A 0 = & # 7 8 4 0 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 1 E B 8 = & # 7 8 6 4 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER E
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 1 E C A = & # 7 8 8 2 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER I
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 1 E C C = & # 7 8 8 4 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 1 E E 4 = & # 7 9 0 8 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER U
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 1 E 6 2 = & # 7 7 7 8 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER S
WITH DOT BELOW
U + 0 3 0 1 = & # 7 6 9 ; = COMBINING ACUTE ACCENT
U + 0 3 0 0 = & # 7 6 8 ; = COMBINING GRAVE ACCENT
U + 0 3 0 4 = & # 7 7 2 ; = COMBINING MACRON
Unfortunately the "combining" superscript accents are just as blunt an instrument as the "combining" subdot, so it would still be
more reasonable for the wise bosses of Unicode to kindly provide precomposed subdots for all of the five roman vowels upper and lower case
EVEN WHEN THESE VOWELS ALSO BEAR PRECOMPOSED ACUTE AND GRAVE ACCENTS. But until that glory day arrives, southern 9ja literates will be
forced to choose their poison: either to tweak the alignment of the combining subdot, or that of the acute and grave accents. At least,
thank goddisses, there's no need to drink both poisons at the same time; instead, the prudent 9ja typist will ensure that either
the subdot or the accent is used in the composed or integrated (not the "combining") form. A fortiori, the "combining"
superscript accents should emphatically not be used with plain (non‑subdotted) vowels or tonebearing
nasals for which composed/integrated tonemarks exist (see complete list below). Some text editors are programmed to automatically substitute
the respective composed/integrated character for the sequence of letter plus combining diacritic, but it would be naive to trust this to
happen on any given day. Apple's tablet‑like OS10.8 (enervatingly named after yet another cat species — can Civettictis civetta be next?) is the worst of both worlds: all the illegibility of combining characters, wrapped in a pseudo‑composed display format so that diacritics can't be tweaked.
U + 0 0 E 1 = & # 2 2 5 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH
U + 0 0 E 0 = & # 2 2 4 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH
U + 0 0 E 9 = & # 2 3 3 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH
U + 0 0 E 8 = & # 2 3 2 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER E WITH
U + 0 0 E D = & # 2 3 7 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH
U + 0 0 E C = & # 2 3 6 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER I WITH
U + 0 0 F 3 = & # 2 4 3 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH
U + 0 0 F 2 = & # 2 4 2 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH
U + 0 0 F A = & # 2 5 0 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER U WITH
U + 0 0 F 9 = & # 2 4 9 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER U WITH
U + 0 0 C 1 = & # 1 9 3 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH
U + 0 0 C 0 = & # 1 9 2 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A WITH
U + 0 0 C 9 = & # 2 0 1 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER E WITH
U + 0 0 C 8 = & # 2 0 0 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER E WITH
U + 0 0 C D = & # 2 0 5 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER I WITH
U + 0 0 C C = & # 2 0 4 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER I WITH
U + 0 0 D 3 = & # 2 1 1 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH
U + 0 0 D 2 = & # 2 1 0 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER O WITH
U + 0 0 D A = & # 2 1 8 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER U WITH
U + 0 0 D 9 = & # 2 1 7 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER U WITH
U + 1 E 3 F = & # 7 7 4 3 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER M WITH
U + 0 1 4 4 = & # 3 2 4 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH
U + 0 1 F 9 = & # 5 0 5 ; = LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH
U + 0 E 3 E = & # 7 7 4 2 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER M
U + 0 1 4 3 = & # 3 2 3 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N WITH
U + 0 1 F 8 = & # 5 0 4 ; = LATIN CAPITAL LETTER N WITH
By whatever means tones manage to be typed, the tonemarks given here for any of the Benue‑Kwa (BK) languages follow a dual
convention, consistent with best practice known to me although not necessarily matching current popular or official usage — fully
explicit tonemarking being rare outside of Yorùbá. Throughout BK, [ ́ ] = high, [ ̀ ] = low, but marking differs
in a principled way between the BK1 and BK2 subgroups correlated to prosodic type as discussed in Manfredi (2009a).
For clarity, the pitch labels H, M, L and ! (downstep juncture) are added parenthetically. In BK2
(comprising the Gbè, Yorùbá, Nupe and Ìdọmà macro‑clusters) with 3 lexical tones, marking economy is paradigmatic i.e.
syllable‑by‑syllable, thus no mark = mid, but in BK1 (the historic remnant including Àkan, Ẹ̀dó, Ìgbo, Tiv, "Bantu"
&c.) with only 2 lexical tones, marking economy is syntagmatic, thus no mark = same as preceding and a sequence of two high marks =
downstep starting on the second (Welmers & Welmers 1968, cf. Christaller 1875), e.g. Ẹ̀dó Ólokún (HH!H)
'[tutelary supernatural, from Yorùbá]'. Furthermore, following Bám̄gbóṣé (1966) and Ámayo (1976), downstep preceding nonhigh is marked by a
word‑internal period, e.g. Yorùbá Oló.kun (MH!M) 'possessor/epitomē/personfication of
òkun (LM) [the ocean]' vs. Olókun (MHM) 'possessor/epitomē/personfication of okun (MM) [energy]' and the same
expedient conveniently generalizes to a non‑spreading juncture between high and a following low, e.g. Yorùbá
oló.dù (MH!L) 'possessor/epitomē/personfication of an òdù (LL) [clay cauldron]' vs.
olódù (MHL) 'possessor/epitomē/personfication of an odù (ML) [8‑bit oracle sign]', cf. also Ẹ̀dó
nó.dè̩ (H!L) 'yesterday'.
Outline of guest lecture with Dr. Ọládiípọ̀ Ajíbóyè, Music 351 "Topics in World Music", Boston University.
Similar joint presentation at Music 1128 "Music of Africa",
Northeastern University, 27 October 2009.
[handout, 1 p. 8.5 x 11 inches, 22 October 2009]
Accompanied by video excerpts of Àyàn
Làmídì Àyánkúnlé and colleagues from Ẹ̀rìn-Ọ̀ṣun in the Department of Performing Arts, University of
Ìlọrin, October 1997. Transcription [handout, 1 p. 8.5x11, 22 October 2009]
Etymological analysis and English translation of the most detailed document of African linguistic heritage in the Americas, originally published in Miami by the Cuban ethnologist Lydia Cabrera (1899‑1991).
Collaboration with I. Miller
(University of Calabar), P. González Gómez‑Cásseres
(Smith College) and a network of Caribbean and Westafrican specialists. Ongoing.
the location of this page is http://people.bu.edu/manfredi/projects.html
last updated 17 May 2013