# Re: Tibetan half digits

From: Michael Everson (everson@indigo.ie)
Date: Thu Oct 24 1996 - 05:42:02 EDT

At 12:33 23/10/1996 -0700, Rick McGowan wrote:

>>>The Tibetan half-numbers, from what I could gather speaking with the
>>>Tibetan
>>>group who visited San Jose last year, have no "inherent" numerical value as
>>>such. They represent subtracting 0.5 (or one-half) from the number in
>>>which
>>>they appear as the last digit; as explained in the standard. Maybe that's
>>>not clear enough.
>>>
>>>For example a string like:
>>> digit-9 digit-8 halfdigit-3 (9, 8, /3)
>>>
>>>represents the number
>>> nine hundred eighty two and five tenths
>>>or
>>> nine hundred eighty two point five

That's what I gathered from the Tibetans too, but in the case you give,
/3 = 2.5, which would imply that there is some notional value, /1 = .5, /2
= 1.5, /3 = 2.5, /4 = 3.5 ... don't those always work?

Alain LaBonté said:

>>Michael, this calls for 2 simultaneous things in a future version of ISO/IEC
>>14651 (when ISO/IEC 10646-1 will be published to document these characters):
>>
>>1-by default, sort these like special characters, in order of course

But where, Alain, where?

>Why is there need to accommodate this variant as a standard, except in terms
>of subroutines for accurate input and output uniquely for those users who
>wish to use them? I may be missing the point, but this seems to be a simple
>numerical formatting issue for a specific and limited input group. The data
>standard can remain unchanged and still allow for separate "numerical
>translation" subroutines without disturbing that standard.

The task in hand is sorting 10646. I am sorting all the numbers, such that
all the 1s are together, all the 2s are together, all the 2s are together.
After the (European-Arabic) digits come the scripts (Roman numerals,
Arabic-Indic, Brahmic, Tibetan...). The fractions are sorted between 0 and
1. The question is, what shall be done with these Tibetan half numbers?

There are pretty much two choices: give a numeric value (/3 = 2.5) or call
it a variant (3-Tibetan-plain vs. 3-Tibetan-variant). The latter would be
easier, but not so correct I think.

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