JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Handwriting and town identification #general

Jules Levin

On 8/6/2011 10:10 AM, Bette Stoop Mas wrote:
The key is Polish pronunciation. In Polish, a vowel that contains an ogonek
(a little hook) beneath it causes the vowel to be pronounced with an "n" or
an "m." Example: the "e" in Ostroleka is written in Polish with an ogonek
under the "e" and the town name is pronounced Ostrolenka.
The ogonek does not appear in a plain text message.
Since this has been brought up I should like to say that there are other
sources of confusion due to the use of plain text with place names in
several languages that are commonly cited on Jewishgen.

I was exploring the pre-WW II All-Lithuania phone book available on the
Litsig page, and noticed a source of confusion for genners unfamiliar with
the 'hatchek', the little v-shaped wedge on several different letters in
European alphabets. I looked up the village of (Yid.) Shaky, spelled in
Lithuanian with a wedge over the initial 's': Sakiai. But S with a wedge
is alphabetized after all 'S' without a wedge, and Sakiai is in the phone
book pages after the last town spelled 'Sa' without the wedge. If you don't
know this, you will think Sakiai is not in the phone book.

On the other hand, Lithuanian 'y' and 'i' are inter-alphabetized, so that
for example a town beginning Syb- would appear before a town beginning
Sit-, which I believe could also cause someone to miss a phone book entry.
The vowels with the little tail (ogonek) in Lithuanian are also
inter-alphabetized, but I do not know how that works in Polish. Alphabets
with all these diacritics have been easily printed on computers for 20 years
or so, and appear in emails routinely. Too bad genners are still stuck in
the early computer era.

Jules Levin
Los Angeles

MODERATOR NOTE: While Polish and Lithuanian special characters can be
transmitted in ordinary e-mail, they are part of a different character set
from western European special characters. The only character set our list
manager software can handle is western European. So we can't do in the list
what most readers have long been able to do in ordinary e-mail. This is also
why we can't include Hebrew or Cyrillic text in posts.

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