Re: ConScript registry?

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Wed Jan 31 2001 - 10:46:32 EST

On Wed, 31 Jan 2001, Michael Everson wrote:

> Ar 13:23 -0800 2001-01-30, scríobh Thomas Chan:
> >I don't think that CSUR is conclusive proof that there wouldn't be a
> >deluge of demands for encoding fictional or constructed scripts if the
> >likes of Tengwar or Klingon were encoded.
> Well, I think what David was saying is that there don't seem to be all that
> many of them.

My primary objection was that we don't have conclusive evidence for either

> >CSUR is just a pair of websites
> >without nowhere the high profile nor authority of Unicode.
> I thought one of the Unicode web pages linked it. I could be wrong. And the
> CSUR states explicitly that it is just for fun. Having said that, I do know
> of some folks who have done implementations of one sort or another based on
> its specifications.

I don't see any wording along the lines of "just for fun" on either CSUR
website itself, except for a link on your

The only thing that suggests their unofficialness and volatility is
mention of the Private Use Area, but perhaps that is not clear to
people who see the words "Unicode" and "Registry", and think it is the
real thing, or there are problems comprehending the concept of a Private
Use Area. Or perhaps they have heard about it secondhand. For example,
look through the Usenet newsgroup archives at or any discussion
board online and see how often people believe Klingon is in Unicode, or
"going to be in the next version" of Unicode, when there has only a
proposal. (And I doubt they are looking at the WG2 proposal itself, but
the CSUR registration or derivative information.)

> >If say, a
> >fictional script were included and published by Unicode and ISO, then
> >people all over would suddenly be aware of the fact that a fictional
> >script got included, and perhaps they might conclude that they should
> >submit their own pet scripts as well.
> Thomas, if a script like Tengwar, which has thousands of users who are
> actually interested in writing texts in it, sorting, searching, and all
> that, gets into the UCS it is because there is a credible requirement to
> encode it. Plenty of "nonfictional" historical scripts have fewer users
> than Tengwar. For some of them we have a handful of texts. Tengwar on the
> other hand is studied by linguists, used by enthusiasts, and at any rate is
> an integral part of the work of one of the 20th century's finest and most
> influential writers.

Please note that I did not single Tengwar out for criticism. I believe it
has a valid argument to be encoded because of the size of the user
community. It is the fictional scripts with small user communities that
are the problem, and how that relates to treatment of real-world
historical scripts with small user communities.

> >For example, it is easy to
> >find a variety of fonts for fantasy runes or other alphabets that people
> >have created, some based off a description in published fiction, but they
> >have not gotten in touch with CSUR.
> Actually there aren't all that many.

Are we sure about this? It remains to be examined how they would be
treated, but there are Chinese fictional scripts that have the potential
capability of gobbling up codepoints like "ideographs" have done. e.g.,
each show a single character in what are supposedly a hundred different
scripts. Most of these "scripts" could probably be conflated and treated
as font variants, but a few are distinct. Multiply that by 4000-8000
each, and you might have an explosion.

Or take the case of bunch of obsoleted reformist alphabets and
syllabaries of the late-19th and early 20th century, such as the Guanhua
Zimu ("Mandarin letters") alphabet, which is to my knowledge only
partially described in one Western source. If I understand correctly,
these would be in the same category as Deseret or Visible Speech.

> >Or take the case of the Hotsuma
> >Tsutae syllabary, created in modern times to provide an fictional
> >pre-Chinese writing system ( for
> >what is supposedly Old Japanese, which has books and articles published
> >about it, and fonts in existence, but it has no contact with CSUR.
> In fact, I *have* seen this. As I recall Ken Whistler and I looked at it
> when we were at the WG2 meeting in Fukuoka.

How did that discussion turn out?

Thomas Chan

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