RE: Coptic Unification Proposal

From: Mansour, Kamal (
Date: Wed Nov 26 1997 - 14:30:28 EST

On Wed 26 Nov 1997 10:37, Michael Everson wrote:

* Here is where you and I disagree, Kamal. Extensions to the Arabic script
* are additions, but they are mostly base forms with some extra dots or rings
* under or over them. The Coptic extensions we know to be borrowed from
* another alphabet. The Copts borrowed first the local variant of the Greek
* script as the base of their own script, and then added the needed sounds
* for it. But the Greek kept on growning and changing and developing,
* choosing forms closer to Latin, which is why we have Greek Times and Greek
* Helvetica today just as we have Latinskij and Bastion for Cyrillic. But we
* do not have these things for Coptic. We don't have SHEIs and FEIs and
* GANGIAs designed in Times or Helvetica style for mixing with other Greek
* letters because people just don't DO that for Coptic. The Arabic
* extensions, by and large, do not work in much the same way.
* It is regrettable that the extra Coptic letters got into the standard via a
* Greek unification. (I bet it was my good friend Hugh Ross who came up with
* that one back when the first DIS of 10646 was being put together. If I had
* been there, I'd have faught it.) But we don't have consensus on the
* unification. Even the standard doesn't support it. Look at Table 10, Greek
* Symbols and Coptic.


Regarding de-unification, my personal preference is to be able to distinguish as
many languages as possible in plain text; if I were to create such a list, it would
be very long and it would certainly include Coptic among others. But we are not
discussing personal preferences here. We are discussing a global standard which,
though not perfect in every aspect, represents a historic step forward for all.
In order to make Unicode succeed, we have to allow reasonable compromises in
many areas so that we can include additional scripts as needed.

I hope you do not take our discussion in a bad way. Your arguments have merit,
and I understand them perfectly well. We are disagreeing on what is a reasonable
compromise in the case of Coptic. For the benefit of everybody else on this
list, let us agree to disagree and take further discussion off-line.

Kamal Mansour
Monotype Typography

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