intercepting internal entities?

David Megginson david at
Thu Apr 29 21:15:59 BST 1999

DuCharme, Robert writes:

 > Well, almost all. I couldn't find a mapping that let me output to
 > 7-bit ASCII (e.g. map auml, agrave, aacute, and acirc all to "a")
 > but I can see from the AnselInputStreamReader class that comes with
 > Mike Kay's GedML package (which demos his SAXON library) how to
 > derive my own StreamReader with my own mapping table.  Look out
 > umlauts.

Actually, for German, a-umlaut should map to 'ae', not 'a' (and
o-umlaut to 'oe', and u-umlaut to 'ue').  Likewise, 'ß' should map to
'ss'.  So, if you want to recode Goethe's line

  ... daß beide Männer recht haben möchten ...

into US-ASCII, you would need to put out

  ... dass beide Maenner recht haben moechten ...

The alternative, "das beide Manner recht haben mochten" looks very
wrong to me, though I'm not a native (or even a very good) German
speaker, and perhaps tastes have changed.  It's interesting to note,
though, that the '¨' in old or middle high German was (I think)
originally just a tiny 'e' writting above the vowel by the scribe.

This stuff is always harder than you expect.  I don't know the rules
in Finnish for example, but I'm willing to bet that they handle
ASCII-fication completely differently.  And, of course, once you start
transliterating non-Roman characters, the real fun begins.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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