Re: IUC10 - Help for hardship cases

From: Mark Leisher (
Date: Fri Jan 31 1997 - 12:50:59 EST

    Alain> At the CEN Seminar in Bled last fall, a Georgian confirmed me that
    Alain> there is no such thing as a notion of case in Georgian. He said
    Alain> that there were 2 traditional typographical styles for this script
    Alain> but he did not understand why characters were double-coded in the
    Alain> UCS. Perhaps the question asked by experts to Georgians were not
    Alain> precise enough at the time of UCS design for Georgian and those who
    Alain> answered, non-experts in character coding, made a confusion between
    Alain> characters and glyphs (and perhaps the "case" meaning was lost in
    Alain> the translation to Georgian and misinterpreted, which would not be
    Alain> surprising, given that the notion is unknown in that script). These
    Alain> are the only reasonable hypothesis. But for sure, now, in ordering
    Alain> these characters, we'll have to make them equivalent in ISO/IEC
    Alain> 14651, but distinguishable at the case level, artificially I'm
    Alain> afraid. Because, of course, searching/sorting has to make them
    Alain> equal sometime, distinguishable in other times when both styles are
    Alain> used.

    Alain> Double-coding is certainly very unfortunate. Ideally, we should
    Alain> have obsoleted one set, but it is perhaps too late and this is less
    Alain> critical anyway than for Korean. We could just recommend to use one
    Alain> style rather than another one.

    Alain> I am sure I did understand what he said because this Georgian
    Alain> participant (about my age) spoke plain and excellent French, it was
    Alain> his first foreign language, so no misunderstanding on my part.

Georgian isn't double-coded. The upper case letters are the archaic Khutsuri
(ecclesiastical script) and the rest are the Mxedruli. Although I can
undertand the "double-coded" claim because of the one-to-one correspondence
between the Khutsuri and Mxedruli.

I would argue that the Khutsuri must be left alone. Right now, I handle lower
case Khutsuri as a font variation of the Mxedruli section, as there is a
direct correspondence between most of the Khutsuri and the Mxedruli.

If the Khutsuri upper case were unified with the Mxedruli, then case
information would be lost. To be more specific, if you saw U+10D0 while using
a Khutsuri font, there would be no way to tell if it should be upper or lower

BTW, if anyone is interested in seeing the Khutsuri upper and lower case
letters, I can send a small uuencoded GIF (approx. 14K) of one of the Khutsuri
fonts I am working on.

If it is decided to remove the Khutsuri from the BMP, I would like the chance
to make a proposal that at least upper case and maybe lower case be encoded
somewhere in Plane 1.

Don't let Khutsuri fade into obscurity! Scholarly interest is still active!

It is true there is no case distinction in Mxedruli, but typographically,
Mxedruli fonts almost always have "title" glyphs that are about the size of
upper case letters (mostly above the baseline) and the normal glyphs that are
about the size of lower case letters. Currently, the distinction between
"title" and "normal" is strictly (and highly regular) glyph variation.
Mark Leisher "A designer knows he has achieved perfection
Computing Research Lab not when there is nothing left to add, but
New Mexico State University when there is nothing left to take away."
Box 30001, Dept. 3CRL -- Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery
Las Cruces, NM 88003

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