Re: FW: Unicode Hangul and Internet

From: Jungshik Shin (
Date: Wed Apr 21 1999 - 15:03:24 EDT

On Tue, 20 Apr 1999, John Cowan wrote:

> > > As you know, several character sets are actually used for
> > > representing Far-Eastern languages. While some of these character
> > > sets do not even list the Korean alphabet, Unicode seems to go in the
> > > opposite direction, because it reserves for the Korean syllables more
> > > than 11,000 positions, not considering that it is possible to obtain
> > > the Korean "graphical syllable" by means of software: see, for
> > > instance, the Microsoft Global IME (Input Method Editor) 5.0.

  Your statement that 'it's possible to....' is right, but your example
is inappropriate. MS Windows(Korean version) doesn't make any use of
Conjoining Jamo area as of now. Neither does it use 'dynamic glyph
shaping', which is supported by ATSUI/QuickDraw GX(?) of Mac OS 8.5 and
some other localized version of MS-Windows(e.g. Arabic and Thai)

> Those 11K codepoints (the Johab code set) were put in at the request
> of the Korean national standards body. But nobody has to use them;
> Unicode has a very complete Hangul jamo set and rules for mapping
> jamo sequences to Johab codes algorithmically. In addition, some
> pre-modern hangul cannot be represented as single codes; the
> conjoining jamo must be used.

   Actually at least one complex vowel frequently used in modern Korean
is missing in Conjoining Jamo area(U1100)(it's also missing in all the
Korean dictionaries in print, but modern Korean speakers use it pretty
often) and so are all the syllables using that vowel in pre-composed
syllable area. My point is even seemingly complete conjoining Jamo area
is not complete.(of course, there are some reserved slots in U1100 block
for additional Jamos so that a few more new Jamos can be accomodated
without much problem) It might have been better in the long term(to
cope with changes in Korean) to have only "primary" Jamos(elemental, or
whatever) with more complicated mapping between pre-composed syllables
and jamo sequences. There are only 28 of them (14 modern consonants, 3
medivial cons., 10 mdoern vowels, 1 medivial vowels) out of which
complex vowels and consonants(and any syllables) can be composed.

> > > by software (and, moreover, every Korean could understand the Hangul
> > > even if not graphically grouped in syllables). Those 11,000 positions

  A few decades ago, some linguists tried to spread that
convention(enumerating Hangul Jamos in series just like Roman alphabets
are used), but failed. Sometimes I think that would have made it whole
lot easier to support Hangul in computer at the expense of the

     Jungshik Shin

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