Re: Yet another Unihan Q

From: Kai-hsu Tai (
Date: Fri Jun 06 1997 - 03:02:40 EDT

Adrian Havill wrote,

> Not me, but Jenkins wrote:
> > E.g., the official "Taiwanese" glyph for U+8349 ("grass") per ISO/IEC
> > 10646 uses four strokes for the "grass" radical, whereas the PRC,
> > Japanese, and Korean glyphs use three. As it happens, Apple's LiSung
> > Light font for Big Five (which follows the "Taiwanese" typographic
> > tradition) uses three strokes.
> Kai-hsu Tai quoted and replied:
> > They are not different characters! The distinction between the 3-stroke
> > and the 4-stroke variants are pretty much like the two kinds of LATIN
> > SMALL LETTER G's in Times New Roman and Helvetica, one somewhat looking
> > like "8", the other somewhat like "9".

> The fact that it's a very common variation/simplification, and that it's
> kind of special in that the simplification involves a stroke count
> change, I think it should be mentioned in Table 6-25 so as to better
> clarify exactly where the boundary between "typeface" and "abstract
> shape" is.

Granted, this should be addressed if we want to be technically rigorous.

> I agree with you in that they're they same character and its a typeface
> variation that belongs on the "Z" axis, but it's not uncommon for people
> to get upset when they insist that the proper way to write their surname
> is with the four stroke U+8279, insisting that it's not the same
> character and is not the same as the three stroke. So the more specific
> the charts are, the better prepared TUS is for the future.

In my 18 years of living in Taiwan, I have never heard anyone (except
primary school teachers) insisting on having their names written with the
4-stroke "grass". A similar issue was brought up more common though:
regarding the character for "yellow" (U+9EC3 or U+9EC4), the Ministry of
Education on Taiwan insists that U+9EC3 should be used, while most people
having that surname (Mandarin: "Huang") writes U+9EC4, with a "radical"
similar to "grass". But it's not even listed under the "grass"
radical--it's got a radical entry all its own, with 8 followers (Look at
them in TUS pages 8-60 and 7-417 to see what I am really talking about).
U+9EC3 and U+9EC4 have different actual shape, while having the same
abstract shape (TUS Table 6-24, page 6-110).

So, pertaining to Unicode, here is the issue. If U+9EC3 and U+9EC4 are
listed at different codepoints, shouldn't all the followers (U+9EC5 to
U+9ECC) have duplicate codepoints too? Or is this because that the source
character sets didn't have the unlisted counterparts? I haven't got time
to look at these characters in the TUS CD, and don't care enough either.

Kai-hsu Tai

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