Re: Mongolian (was RE: Syriac and Mongolian joining behavior)

From: Martin Heijdra (mheijdra@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 14:36:06 EST

Since there have been questions re Mongolian, I thought I ask two questions I
long have had:

1. I assume Kalmuck and Todd Mongolian are included in the Mongolian standard;
but is Manchu (and Sibe) fully included? I can't see Manchu, with a huge
written legacy, in any pipeline chart, but its treatment as an extended
Mongolian might be the cause of that.

2. What would standard solution be for the Mongolian conundrum, that what
otherwise would function as one and the same character (e.g. "o") in very rare
circumstances has 3 different possible final glyphs (c.q. "foreign" o, "cut
off" o, full round o); or alternatively, middle n which has in a few middle,
pre-cononant cases non-predictable behavior.

It seems in general that Mongolian is quite special in having rules of the
type "in 99% of the cases, variant glyphs of one character are fully
predictable, but in a very few cases they are not, yet not interchangeable.
For a glyph-based approach this constitutes no problem (just give the user
access to override the predicted glyph with another, separately encoded
glyph), but in a Unicode character-based, glyph-rendered approach it actually
creates quite unexpected problems: are such glyphs one or two characters? They
are after all, in those few cases not predicatable but prescribed.

Martin Heijdra
Gest Oriental Library
317 Palmer Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544

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