Re: Unicode & Han

From: Alain LaBont/e'/ (
Date: Sat Aug 10 1996 - 10:17:08 EDT

At 05:15 1996-8-10 -0700, Michael Everson wrote:

[Timothy Huang]:
>>Why the Western Chess symbols were coded as
>>characters?, but not the Chinese Mar-jhon? Cultural superiority?
>No. It had to do with the fact that these are used in typesetting and they
>were probably included in a coded character set. Do you have data
>processing requirements for mah-jong? Then you can talk to your national
>representative about getting those entities encoded.

There has been a proposition by the Chinese delegates presented twice in
SC2/WG2, if I remember well, that I found genial... To complement the
existing set, they were proposing a composition-on-the-fly method that would
have allowed to compose any character based on Chinese radicals. As a
primitive and occasional user of Chinese, I would have been delighted by
this: I do not have an intelligent input method for entering Cinese and
sometimes I look hard to find some Han characters in the UCS. With this
method I would not search more than a few seconds to retrieve the right
coding. In fact it would also simplify sorting and ordering: right now CJK
characters are inherently sorted; however as we can't insert extra
characters in the table, they will be added in other planes and we'll have
to have complex methods for sorting them (or huge tables). The composition
method would not require such complex processing at all for
radical/strokecount order.

[Timothy Huang]:
>>I think
>>the root of the problem is that the Unicoder DOES NOT understand what is
>>a character. And this is the deadly vital problem. And in my opinion,
>>until the Unicoders start to respect different culture and language,
>>they won't be able to do the coding right.
>You are overstating the case here. I'm a member of SC2/WG2, the ISO
>committee which makes 10646. We cooperate with Unicode. I have some
>problems with what I would call "over-decomposition" in Unicode philosophy
>for alphabetic scripts. We work to come to consensus. It's not always easy.

You see, I agree with Michael here. As much as I would like a way of
composing Chinese characters on-the-fly which would be easier to process (it
is also the natural way in Chinese, imho), I would like fully composed
alphabetic characters rather than a composition method for the same reason.
It seems condradictory but it isn't really, alhabertic and ideographic
characters have a totally different nature (that's the reason why I was
interested to learn Chinese, in fact, to find another way of thinking about
the reality of writing). I agree, all this is not easy. I think we all agree
on this.

I would like to invite Timothy to work in ISO in my turn, his input would
bring a sane debate. And I think we would better Chinese processing.


Zai ji`n.

Alain LaBonti (Sh`n Alan [or A ning])
Quibec (Kui Bei Ke Shi)

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