RE: Greek/Etruscan/Gothic Unification Proposal

From: John Clews (
Date: Wed Nov 26 1997 - 15:14:29 EST

> From: "Siobhan Harper Jones (Volt Computer)" <>
> Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 09:11:28 -0800 (PST)
> Subject: RE: Greek/Etruscan/Gothic Unification Proposal

> > Marc K=FCster wrote:...

> If experts are satisfied=20 with a Greek / Gothic unification and
> believe it represents their practice properly, so be it.

Siobhan Harper Jones replied:

> Besides, unlike Gothic, isn't Coptic still used as a contemporary liturgical
> language,...


> as well as an everyday language in some circles?

No - but let me know if you find out differently. It seems to have
exactly the same relationship to Greek as Church Slavonic has to

If you unify (or separate) Coptic and Greek, then logically you
should unify (or separate) Church Slavonic and Cyrillic.

Alternatively, both Coptic and Church Slavonic could be candidates
for the PLane 1 extension of UCS (ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode).

> That would mea=
> n
> that Unicode, according to its charter, would treat it differently, as a
> living script, than it would treat Gothic, which is strictly paleographic=
> ,
> and Old Church Slavonic, which (I understand) is a historical liturgical
> language. So maybe the ongoing comparison of the Coptic situation with
> Gothic and Old Church Slavonic is somewhat misleading.=20
> As a living language, it would merit its own script, I would think,

(but it's not, and doesn't)

> regardless of its historical origins. After all, if you wanted to represe=
> nt
> all the Indic-derived Southeast Asian scripts in the Devanagari range, yo=
> u
> could justify that under the same reasoning as Coptic/Greek unification. =
> But
> Unicode has distinct code points for Tibetan, Burmese, Lao, Thai, etc., e=
> ven
> though they're all basically elaborate variations on Sanskrit ka, kha, ga=
> ,
> gha, nga, and so forth.

But again, Unicode unifies Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

I think the situation's fine as it stands in UCS. The only possible
worthwhile extension to the Greek/Coptic and Cyrillic/Church Slavonic
repertoires in the BMP might be Plane 1 extensions for specifically
Coptic and Greek. Realistically, Coptic and Church Slavonic, are not
going to shape the direction of UCS development and use, especially
while there are scripts used in national languages that are not yet
coded in UCS (see for instance Annex N of ISO/IEC 10646).

Whatever is done for some of these scripts is going to cause some
problems for others. Scripts, languages and fonts are a bit of a
continuum at times, and users and developers will just need to be
smart enough when necessary (which will also include developers
providing neat solutions when necessary).

Best wishes

John Clews

John Clews (Chair of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages)

SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Road, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, England Email:; tel: +44 (0) 1423 888 432

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