[openbeos] Re: AW: Re: AW: Locale Kit

  • From: Kevin Czapla <czapla@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 16 Dec 2003 22:17:28 -0800

> Gabe Yoder <gyoder@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Spanish provides some interesting problems.  I am not sure how they
>> handle 
>> comparisons with accents (a vowel with an accent is not a different
>> letter, 
>> it just changes which syllable gets the emphasis).  The n with a ~ (I
>> don't 
>> know how to type it correctly), is a different letter than n and
>> should 
>> follow n.  Those quirks are not much different than the quirks
>> discussed for 
>> the other languages.  The weird part is that "LL" and "RR" are each
>> considered a single letter and follow their single counter parts (so
>> "llamar" 
>> comes after "luz").
> From: "Axel Dörfler" <axeld@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> RR? Are are you sure? :-)
> You forgot about "ch" though which is sorted as one letter and follows
> "c" :)
> In French "é" is also the same letter as "e" (it's just pronounced
> differently), but they are also different when it comes to sorting them
> correctly. I don't know how Spanish handles this, though.
> Bye,
> Axel.

I decided to do some quick research on the Spanish alphabet because I, too,
was a little skeptical that "RR" was considered a single letter. (Also, I
was curious about the sorting problems implied by the difficulty of
distinguishing between "LL" (two ele characters) and "LL" (one elle
character), if indeed "LL" (two ele characters) ever occurs in Spanish, even
if only in foreign loan-words.)

What I found is that the matter of the exact letters in the Spanish alphabet
is contentious, although there is an authorative list from the Real Academia
Española ("considered the arbiter of what's official Spanish"). There was
also some interesting information about current sorting recommendations
versus obsolescent sorting rules.


The following chart shows the capital letters along with name of each

A: a 
B: be 
C: ce 
CH: che 
D: de 
E: e    
F: efe 
G: ge 
H: hache 
I: i 
J: jota 
K: ka    
L: ele 
LL: elle 
M: eme 
N: ene 
Ñ: eñe 
O: o    
P: pe 
Q: cu 
R: ere 
S: ese 
T: te 
U: u    
V: ve 
W: doble u 
X: equis 
Y: i griega 
Z: zeta

It may interest you to know that not all authorities (or at least not all
textbooks) agree on which letters make up the alphabet. Some lists don't
include W (sometimes referred to as doble ve) and K, which exist almost
exclusively in words of foreign origin, such as kilowatt. And some lists
count RR (erre), whose sound usually is different than that of R, as a
separate letter [although the Academy does not count it as such].

The Academy also has ruled that while CH and LL are considered letters, for
alphabetization purposes only they should not be treated that way. It used
to be that dictionaries would list all the words beginning with CH
separately, after the words beginning with C, so, for example, the word
achatar would be listed after acordar. But in most modern dictionaries, the
words are alphabetized as they would be in English (except that the Ñ comes
after the N). 


You will find as you learn Spanish that vowels are often written with
accents, as in tablón, and the U is sometimes topped with a dieresis or
umlaut, as in vergüenza. However, vowels with such diacritical marks are not
considered separate letters as they can be in some other languages.



The same page has a link on typing diacritical marks in Spanish, including
"ñ" (for Gabe). :-)

But this still doesn't answer Axel's question about relative sort positions
of accented and unaccented vowels in Spanish, unfortunately.


Other related posts: