Re: Hexadecimal character entry (ISO 14755)

From: Edward Cherlin (
Date: Tue Jun 08 1999 - 00:50:42 EDT

At 15:54 -0700 6/6/1999, wrote:
>As others have indicated, entering 4-digit hex values definitely would not
>be my
>preferred way of entry for arbitrary Unicode characters. For characters
>that are
>frequently use, I favour the idea of user-definable input methods. I don't
>oppose the idea, though, since it *will* get used, by people like Markus, and
>probably by me on some occasion. (I have a Word macro that allows me to enter
>any Unicode character, which is what I usually end up using when I want to
>experiment with arbitrary Unicode characters, but I certainly don't want to
>spend the rest of my life limited to that.)
>My main concern is with the attempt to "localise" the hexadecimal digits by
>allowing A-F to be replaced by characters from other scripts, which is
>what this
>discussion thread started with. (Can anybody tell me what the first six
>characters are?)

Since there is no accepted ordering of the Chinese characters as a whole,
and since there are counting sequences in Chinese, that was probably the
wrong question. It seems to me that the first six of the ten Celestial
Stems or the 12 Branches would be much more likely choices. Or possibly the
single character for 'ten' () plus five from one of those sequences.

However, I wouldn't recommend any such thing. The Hindu/Arabic/European
numerals are taught in schools in many countries that use non-Latin
systems, and so is the Latin alphabet. Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic letters
are part of the commonly used Han character standards. Anyone using hex
seriously has to learn how to write it in Latin characters.

I think we skipped over the real question. How many people are likely to be
using computers without Latin letters? How many of that group will be using
hex? Of course, if even one such person wants to write hex using characters
other than A-F, I don't mind in the least. Even if they want to access
Unicode characters by typing in such a variant of hex, I don't mind. There
have been several hundred systems invented for entering various character
sets, and I expect to see a few hundred more.

All I ask is that anyone who decides to implement hex-in-hanzi include in
the design a way to translate in and out of that form.

Edward Cherlin                        President
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