Re: Synonyms in Unicode Terminology

From: Edward Cherlin (
Date: Tue Feb 02 1999 - 03:55:51 EST

At 12:27 -0800 1/27/99, Mirko Raner wrote:
>Hello Unicoders out there,
>thanks for all answers to my posting concerning typographic units of
>(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?
To me they are all somewhat different. "Script" and "alphabet" are the most
different, since a script can be based on a syllabary or an open-ended set
of logograms, and is never just an alphabet.

The Unicode character set has 65,536 code points, but a much smaller
repertoire of characters assigned codes in V2. We expect that it will have
a much larger repertoire in the future, perhaps 100,000 or more in V4, with
the same set of code points.

"Font vs. "typeface" has been done to death. I pass.

Glyphs have numerous representations, some of which are shapes and some images.

You left out "character code" and "character encoding".
>All contributions are welcome. Please send a copy to!
>Thanks in advance,
>Mirko Raner
>Software Developer
>MATHEMA Software GmbH

"Never thank the executioner."--Kermit the Frog
Edward Cherlin, Spamfighter <>
"It isn't what you don't know that hurts you, it's
what you know that ain't so."--Mark Twain, or else
some other prominent 19th century humorist and wit

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