Re: Synonyms in Unicode Terminology

From: James E. Agenbroad (
Date: Mon Feb 01 1999 - 09:47:19 EST

On Wed, 27 Jan 1999, Mirko Raner wrote:

> Hello Unicoders out there,
> thanks for all answers to my posting concerning typographic units of measurement
> (I really didn't want to start such a big discussion).
> I am currently working on a company-internal introduction to Unicode and maybe
> I discovered some terminological blur. Please consider the following four sets
> of Unicode-related terms:
> - script / alphabet
> - character set / repertoire
> - font / typeface / glyph collection
> - glyph / glyph shape / glyph image / glyph representation
> I would like to hear some opinions on the relation of these words. Are some of
> them synonyms or are they just often treated as synonyms and do actually have a
> different meaning? If so, what exactly is the difference?
> There are some documents (the Unicode Standard itself, ISO/IEC PDTR 15285, and
> many others) which contain definitions for the above terms (or at least for a
> subset), but unfortunately they are not consistent in many cases.
> All contributions are welcome. Please send a copy to!
> Thanks in advance,
> Mirko Raner
> Software Developer
> MATHEMA Software GmbH
> Germany
                                               Monday, February 1, 1999
An important characteristic of a language's alphabet is that those who use
it know the order of its letters, and use it to consult telephone books,
indexes, etc. This is not true for a lanaguage's entire script--few users
of any roman script languages could say whether % (per cent) precedes or
follows * (asterisk). If this aspect of alphabets has already been
menitoned pleas excuse the redundancy. While the order of numerals (0-9)
is well known, whether they precede or follow A-Z is less clear to many
users of a language's script.
          Jim Agenbroad ( )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-9334 U.S.A.

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