Proposed Change to Hebrew Block Text (was: 5 Hebrew ...)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Wed May 26 1999 - 09:45:35 EDT

Mark H. David wrote:

> I think this was more or
> less clearly stated in the description of the Hebrew block in the
> Unicode Standard book.

Actually, no such statement is made. The entire paragraph on
final forms is as follows:

# Variant forms of five Hebrew letters are encoded as separate
# characters in all Hebrew standards; therefore this practice
# is followed in the Unicode Standard. These five variant
# forms are encoded in this block rather than the compatibility
# zone in order to retain structural consistency between this
# block and ISO 8859-8.

This tends to indicate, IMHO, that the editors of the Unicode
Standard did not view the final forms as anything but compatibility
characters, preserved only to make roundtripping with 8859-8
and other 8-bit standards easy.

Based on the evidence that has appeared, I think this decision should
be rescinded for Unicode 3.0 (or a later version, if it's
too late), and some such language as this employed:

# Variant forms of five Hebrew letters are encoded as separate
# characters in this block, as in all Hebrew standards. These
# forms are used in place of the nominal forms when they appear
# finally. Certain words, however, are spelled with nominal
# rather than final forms, particularly names and foreign
# borrowings in Hebrew, and many words in Yiddish. Therefore,
# final forms should never be automatically substituted for
# nominal forms. This is a fundamental difference between
# Hebrew and Arabic script.

John Cowan
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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