Re: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

From: John Jenkins (
Date: Thu Sep 30 1999 - 11:42:36 EDT

On Wednesday, September 29, 1999 4:59:31 PM, Scott Horne wrote:

>> Note, by the way, that the list of privileged languages includes Japanese,
>> Chinese, Korean, and Arabic -- so is not limited to European and
>> American colonialists and hegemonists.
> No? Many Japanese people have strong objections to the Han unification.
> (So do I, for that matter. I also disapprove of the sloppy use of the
> inaccurate and insulting term _ideographs_ for Chinese characters. But
> I digress.) Back when that decision was being forced on everyone, the
> attitude of its powerful proponents was "These @#$& Japanese won't
> listen to reason".

It is true that many Japanese object to Han unification. So do some
Chinese. But many Chinese and Japanese do *not* object to Han unification.
The methodology underlying the unification work was derived from a Japanese
national standard, after all, and the unification has been done by experts
drawn from throughout East Asia. I have never once witnessed any Japanese
objection at CJK/JRG or IRG meetings to any proposed unifications or to the
unification work per se; to the contrary, the Japanese experts have been
invaluable contributors at every point.

Forgive my impatience, but this is a very very departed specimen of Eohippus
here. While the objections of some East Asians were overruled, it was
*never* because their needs weren't considered important; it was because the
technology to solve their (legitimate) concerns existed. Nor was the
decision *forced* on East Asia by Western corporations, unless you consider
the People's Republic of China (inter alia) a Western corporation.

Meanwhile, I'm surprised you consider the term "ideograph" insulting. It's
a misnomer, of course, but is no worse than other words frozen into our
language through long use despite literal inaccuracy.

John H. Jenkins

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