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Unicode issues with Glottal stop / Modifier letter apostrophe

Through trial and error, I figured out that the course seems to be using the Unicode character U+02BC ʼ MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE as the glottal stop/ejective marker. This decision does make some sense considering how the alternative characters are normally used for punctuation rather than being part of the word, but considering that most keyboards don't contain this character, I think the course ought to allow for variation with U+2019 ’ RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK and the plain apostrophe U+0027 ' APOSTROPHE without signaling "You have a typo in your answer." The difference between Yá’át’ééh, Yá'át'ééh, and Yáʼátʼééh is incredibly slight and calling it a typo is kind of a stretch, especially in a course aimed towards laypeople who might not have much familiarity with the nuances of Unicode encoding, as seen by the frustration in threads like https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/29200179.

Some relevant links for reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modifier_letter_apostrophe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Unicode https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%27_(disambiguation) https://tedclancy.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/which-unicode-character-should-represent-the-english-apostrophe-and-why-the-unicode-committee-is-very-wrong/

October 14, 2018



You are right:

rightsinglequotationmark 2019

is indeed used, otherwise only Unicode page 00 characters in your last 'Y...' examples.

I was already wondering why they suggested different variations of e.g. 'Shiprock', they looked quite the same written.


I imagine that this is because the standard ' is one of the common punctuation characters the system is hard-coded to ignore in all languages. If it were accepted as you suggest, it would be possible to completely leave out this essential phoneme and the system would not flag it up.

The problem could be ameliorated somewhat by providing the modified-letter apostrophe as a special character key below the text input box.
Or—better still—a client-side script that automatically changes normal punctuation apostrophes into modified-letter ones for these questions in the Navajo course; perhaps someone with the coding skills could write such a script as an add-on?

I though DL was going to fix this problem with phonemic apostrophes before Klingon was released, but evidently it never did.


I actually was unable to correctly type ála' (with the right symbol, which that isn't) in the app, I ended up having to come to the website because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to finish the lesson.

There are some accents etc available on the website, but none in the app. The correct glottal stop isn't even there as an accent, but if you have a word bank, you can complete the lesson. (-‸ლ)


It's rather frustrating, but I have taken to, for now, copy and pasting the correct symbol from the Wikipedia article about the correct apostrophe when I'm using the iOS app. Beyond that particular character, the available Navajo keyboards on iOS or Android should work, afaik.

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