Re: displaying Unicode text (was re: Transcriptions of "Unicode")

From: James Kass (
Date: Thu Dec 07 2000 - 00:04:12 EST

John H. Jenkins wrote:

> At 3:57 PM -0800 12/6/00, James Kass wrote:
> >A Universal Character Set should not require mark-up/tags.
> Au contraire, it's been implicit in the design of Unicode from the
> beginning that markup/tags would be required in certain situations.

Because of the 65536 character limitation ? (Which no
longer applies.)
> >If the Japanese version of a Chinese character looks different
> >than the Chinese character, it *is* different. In many cases,
> >"variant" does not mean "same".
> But as a rule, the Japanese and Chinese would disagree with you here.
> Certainly the IRG would disagree. Few in the west would argue over
> the fundamental unity of Fraktur and Roman variations of the Latin
> alphabet; most of the Chinese/Japanese variations are on that order
> or less.

As our Asian friends come on-line, they will hopefully
contribute to the discussion in this regard. The reason
I suspect that the Japanese would tend to agree is that
Unicode had not been widely accepted by the Japanese
user community.

Perhaps if Unicode originated elsewhere, we would have
had to deal with Greek/Latin/Cyrillic unification?
(And we could say that since the "W" is really a ligature
of two "V"s, it shouldn't have an explicit encoding...)

> >
> >When limited to BMP code points, CJK unification kind of made
> >sense. In light of the new additional planes...
> >
> >The IRG seems to be doing a fine job.
> >
> Here you've really lost me. The IRG is unifying in plane 2, as well.
> Nobody in the IRG has suggested that we abandon unification for plane
> 2.

I tried to respond to this in an earlier letter. We don't
even have CJK unification in the BMP, witness the blocks
U+8A00 to U+8B9f versus U+8BA0 to U+8C36. Many of
the characters in the latter block are simplified versions
of the former.


Fraktur and roman are both adaptations of the Latin
script, or stylistic variations just as italic and roman.
The Japanese writing system is Japanese, but derived
from Chinese. As you say, some of the differences
are minimal, perhaps slight variation in stroke order,
but other differences are substantial. In some cases,
the Japanese version may use a variant of a certain
radical component, or even a different radical. I said
I think the IRG is doing a fine job because it is such a
monumental task, much progress is being made, and the
results of their work seem to reflect the expectations
of the various user communities involved.

Best regards,

James Kass.

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