RE: Greek/Etruscan/Gothic Unification Proposal

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Nov 26 1997 - 17:59:38 EST

John Clews writes:
> 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
> Cyrillic.

Liturgically, perhaps, but I doubt that Coptic the language can
be claimed to bear the same historic relationship to Greek that
Old Church Slavonic has to the various Slavic language descendants
(Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, etc.), including many Slavic languages
not written with Cyrillic (Czech, Slovenian, Croat, Polish), and
to the many non-Slavic languages written at one time or another
with Cyrillic (Abkhaz, Kurdish, Uzbek, ...).

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

The analogy is drawn too narrowly, and the discussion about what to
do with Coptic is not profiting, in my opinion, by the separate
issue of the relationship between (written) Church Slavonic and
the Cyrillic script.

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

In either case, any disunification should *not* cross the Plane
boundary. This would cause worse problems for implementers of
Greek/Coptic than leaving things the way they are now.

> But again, Unicode unifies Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

No, it doesn't. It provides a single (non-disunified) encoding for
Han characters, which constitute the script in which Chinese is
written, and one of the scripts of the complex writing systems for
Japanese and Korean (each of which is a multi-script system).

> 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).

In my opinion, Cyrillic is fine (except that Glagolitsa needs to
be addressed as a separate script), but Coptic bears reexamination,
for many of the reasons adduced by Michael Everson.

--Ken Whistler

> 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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:38 EDT