Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Wed Sep 29 1999 - 12:55:07 EDT

Ar 05:25 -0700 1999-09-29, scríobh Eric Brunner:

>>> [... not as confident ... that ... every ethnic group with a written
>>> language will be ... supported by ... computer systems ...]
>> The sine qua non is to get them supported by the
>> Universal Character Set first.
>I've never encountered a language educator, American academic or tribal,
>nor a tribal person working as the operator of, or acquisition agent of,
>computer systems, who shared the sentiments offered in the rejoinder
>shown in its entirity above.

It seems that Eric has misunderstood me.

I was responding to the concern that all languages with writing systems
might not be supported by all computer systems. Since one expects all
computer systems to one day support Universal Character Set, it follows
that the writing system requirements of such languages need to be met by
the Universal Character Set.

I did not mean to imply that no one should do anything about those
languages before their characters were representable in the UCS, which I
think is Eric's complaint. It does mean that we should wish to learn what
characters are missing sooner rather than later. If the characters required
aren't in the UCS, it will be difficult for computer systems which support
the UCS to support the languages which use them. That, and nothing else,
was intended by my use of the Latin expression "sine qua non".

>I suggest to the list that it is an expensive distraction to attempt in
>one list to periodically revisit what is unlikely to be reconciled, at
>least while a human language remains in use and without a writing system
>both reduced to a tractable number of conventions, preferably a single
>standard, and those, preferably unique and unambiguous, elemental forms
>modernly employed as "writing" are not yet "supported by the Universal
>Character Set".

That's quite a sentence. However, I invite you, again, Eric, to provide a
list of characters which are missing, or to put me in touch with the
experts in the northeast of North America which you mentioned some months
ago. I would be pleased to discuss their character set requirements with

You have implied on several instances that there are characters missing,
and therefore languages whose writing systems are not representable in the
UCS. Please specify these characters or put me in touch with those who can,
so that those needs can be met. Thank you very much.

Beir bua agus beannacht,

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478 2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478 2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn;  Baile an Bhóthair;  Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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