Re: Rosetta Stone

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Jun 17 1999 - 15:21:37 EDT

Markus asked:

> The cover of the Unicode 2.0 Standard shows a photo of the Rosetta
> stone. I am curious whether Unicode 3.0 or ISO 10646:1999 will allow us
> to encode the entire inscription of the stone. Any idea?

John Cowan and Michael Everson already correctly noted that hieroglyphics
will not make it into Unicode 3.0. (And that stands for both the demotic
and the priestly forms on the Rosetta stone.) The Unicode Standard,
Version 3.0 is synched with the revised edition of ISO/IEC 10646-1
(probably ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000, as Michael pointed out). The content
for Version 3.0 (and ISO/IEC 10646-1:2000, of course) is already
completely nailed down, and we are just trying to sail these two massive
ships safely into the publication dock.

My current best guess is that hieroglyphics will finally show up in
the Unicode Standard, Version 5.0 (if we all survive that long!).

The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0 will, in all likelihood, be synched up
with the new Part 2 of ISO/IEC 10646, at such time as that new part
makes it through all its ballotting. That will contain major additions
on other planes of 10646 besides the Basic Multilingual Plane (Plane 0):
a few historic alphabets and complete sets of musical notation symbolic
primitives (both for the Byzantine and the Western traditions) on
Plane 1; a major new chunk of unified Han characters on Plane 2; and
the still controversial language tag characters on Plane 14. Any new
additions to the BMP (i.e., new amendments to Part 1 of ISO/IEC 10646)
would, of course, also be included. But hieroglyphics will definitely not
be ready to make this release train, either, as the proposal on the books
is only beginning to get serious study and will not make it into
the CD for ISO/IEC 10646-2 (unless someone channelling Ramses II suddenly
appears and makes it so!).

--Ken Whistler

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