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Old 09-16-2011, 09:49 AM   #1
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Will this site convert to the utf-8 character set?

Hi! Such a very, very cool site! Do you anticipate changing your website character set to utf-8 anytime soon? I've noticed that the character set is ISO-8859-1 and that this set doesn't support unicode. The character set of many Native American (NA) languages can be correctly replicated and displayed using a utf-8 character set but this has to be enabled on this site's server.
I know that I'd like to be able to post text in my Lakhota language on this site but the character set that the Lakhota language uses is utf-8. Facebook, as an example, uses utf-8, and it is possible for the Lakhota to post our text there and have it correctly displayed. I'm sure that the members of other tribes whose language is supported by utf-8 would welcome and love the opportunity to communicate with other members of their tribes using their language on this site.
Congratulations on such a cool site. I wish you all the very best of possible success!
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:27 AM   #2
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I'm not sure that it can be done... easily...

This end of the site is run on vBulletin software package that has a special theme applied to it. Now if I am correct, this could mean that the databases that runs on the backend of this site might have its character sets as ISO-8859-1 which means that if the front end of the site was converted to and is submitting characters in UTF-8 then the database won't be able to process the encoding correctly.

You might still be able to get the extra characters by using Character Map in Windows, although you may be limited to only those characters that have an "ALT" code. For instance the degree symbol of is created by ALT+0176.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:14 PM   #3
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Yes, I think that ISO-8859-1 restricts to the first 256 characters of unicode -- basically non-NA characters. That's a range that lies well outside of most of the utf-8 characters that support NA languages. As an example, in the word "Lakhota" the "-h-" is actually an "-h-" with a caret (or hacek) above it. It is a sound in Lakhota -- and other NA languages -- that is classified in the IPA as IPA number 140 -- a "voiceless velar fricative" -- represented as [x] in IPA unicode. Another consonant that is a feature of many NA languages as well is the glottal stop, represented by an IPA utf-8 character, but is not supported by ISO-8859-1.
It isn't that much of a problem to create free Windows keyboards to display the unique characters of many NA languages (like the "-h'" with a caret above it and the glottal stop character).
I made a Windows keyboard for Lakhota but the site it is used on MUST support utf-8 and the user's computer must have a unicode, utf-8 compliant font installed. (Usually this comes with Windows as "Arial" unicode but there are other free, sophisticated unicode fonts that can display a wider range of unicode characters used in NA languages available for download and installation onto a user's computer.)
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:20 PM   #4
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I agree with you that it should have been UTF-8, but Paul (the webmaster) didn't write the program that runs the site, Jelsoft did. The problem isn't that Paul can't rework the site and the databases to conform to UTF-8, it boils down to updating the site with new versions of the software, which might cause conflicts. Also there could be a licensing issue. With that said, I will state that I don't know 100% that it will be the case, as I've never worked with this software and I do as little as possible PHP programming.

As for as this site goes for typing out words and phrases in any Native American languages, its few and far between.

It may be annoying but maybe it is possible to create a site that allows someone to type in an words in a UTF-8 environment then have it save it to their server and spit out an iframe code to be pasted into your comments...
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Old 09-17-2011, 02:32 AM   #5
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@Paul G whats the scoop on this subject?
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:10 AM   #6
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@Paul G whats the scoop on this subject?
Really never looked into it.

If it is something that we need I'll investigate.
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Old 09-17-2011, 04:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witkola View Post
Yes, I think that ISO-8859-1 restricts to the first 256 characters of unicode -- basically non-NA characters. That's a range that lies well outside of most of the utf-8 characters that support NA languages. As an example, in the word "Lakhota" the "-h-" is actually an "-h-" with a caret (or hacek) above it. It is a sound in Lakhota -- and other NA languages -- that is classified in the IPA as IPA number 140 -- a "voiceless velar fricative" -- represented as [x] in IPA unicode. Another consonant that is a feature of many NA languages as well is the glottal stop, represented by an IPA utf-8 character, but is not supported by ISO-8859-1.
It isn't that much of a problem to create free Windows keyboards to display the unique characters of many NA languages (like the "-h'" with a caret above it and the glottal stop character).
I made a Windows keyboard for Lakhota but the site it is used on MUST support utf-8 and the user's computer must have a unicode, utf-8 compliant font installed. (Usually this comes with Windows as "Arial" unicode but there are other free, sophisticated unicode fonts that can display a wider range of unicode characters used in NA languages available for download and installation onto a user's computer.)
actually the "k" is Lakota is aspirated, the Colorado system uses an "h" to illustrate that, many other orthographic systems use other things, like a raised inverted comma. The "h" with a hacek is not in the word Lakota, it is found in words like "Hesapa" 'Black hills' abd "hota" 'gray'.

Are you attempting to use the LLC font set here?
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Old 09-17-2011, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa_Boy View Post
actually the "k" is Lakota is aspirated, the Colorado system uses an "h" to illustrate that, many other orthographic systems use other things, like a raised inverted comma. The "h" with a hacek is not in the word Lakota, it is found in words like "Hesapa" 'Black hills' abd "hota" 'gray'.
In Lakhota the "-k-" in that position, before the voiceless velar fricative, is always aspirated; but it would've been redundant for me to have pointed that out, as you have, in the example I used because I was only referring to the character used for the voiceless velar fricative -- the "-h-" in Lakhota -- and not for the aspirated "-k-". I was not referring to any other particular sound.
However, the sound of "-h-" in "hesapa" and "hota" IS the voiceless velar fricative. It is the same sound as the "-h-" in Lakhota.
The Colorado University Lakhota Project's method for writing Lakhota is a modified form of the Americanist Phonetic Notation.
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Are you attempting to use the LLC font set here?
The LLC (or "Lick") font set, as it's called in Lakhota country, is a collection of ANSI and Unicode fonts with characters used in writing the Lakhota language in the Lick style -- a style which is based on the methods of non-Native christian missionaries who attempted to use the indigenous language to destroy the culture of the indigenous groups. The Lick characters used are found in ANSI and Unicode fonts freely available from other sites on the internet. Quite a cool trick to get Lakhota natives to pay $15 for something ("bundled fonts") that they could have gotten for free elsewhere (all the more poignant because of the historical legacy behind the writing methods). Besides, Lick ignores the glottal stop. That's like mistaking one's finger for the thing it's pointing at. So, in answer to this particular question of yours, I'm not attempting anything other than trying to find a way for me to write my Lakhota language to/with my relatives in a forum where we can visit and share our insights and etc. with each other in our native tongue.
Also, in case you didn't know, UTF-8 is a protocol rather than a character set. Anyone can attempt to use any font set anywhere but utf-8 uses unicode: a unicode-compliant font will correctly display the characters as defined in the international Unicode Consortium standards.
There are many different ways of writing NA languages and the unicode standard is uniform across all platforms enabling a reliable resource that can be shared internationally at no cost. It would cost nothing for someone to write the Lakhota language on a webpage that had utf-8 encoding and it would cost nothing for a viewer of that particular website to correctly view the unicode characters if a unicode font is installed on their local computer.
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:45 PM   #9
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for clarity (and it is a great discussion we are having because it does illustrate the underlying problem we are addressing) you are saying that the "h" in "hesapa" which I will mark as a "*". so you are saying you pronounce Lakota as Lak*ota, stress obviously on the o. So you distinguish two sound, the k and the *. Do you pronounce is as Lak-*o-ta or La-k*ta.

I'm curious because linguistically the k* doesn't appear in the Dakota/Lakota language as a constant cluster in my memory. The colorado system doesn't teach that, nor does any of the common stock dictionaries, buechel, deloria, riggs, etc. From personal experience only non-native speakers who tried to learn from the Colorado system who misunderstood the othrography pronounce Lakota like Lak*ota.

in the major dialect survey of the 20 plus Dakotan speaking communities, that pronunciation did not appear. Are you formally trained in linguistics?

I see from the LLC page that they are using the h with the hacek in the word Lakota. They are taking a shortcut instead of teaching the proper way to represent the sound. telling people to use the h with the hacek instead of acknowleding the true underlying "k" sound-variant and then teaching/employing a proper symbol of some sort for that sound. This is why we need native linguists heavily involved these programs who have a true culture and linguistic understanding of the language that will not take these shortcuts.

Last edited by Iowa_Boy; 09-19-2011 at 10:56 PM..
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