Re: Unicode and ISO terminology

From: J M Sykes (
Date: Tue Mar 06 2001 - 13:21:20 EST


Thanks for the reply.

> Mike Sykes asked:
> > Can anyone tell me whether there is any prospect of terminology being
> > harmonised or reconciled between Unicode and ISO 10646?
> Gradually--over the long run. The Unicode Glossary has already added some
> terminology from 10646, to make the usage of concepts like "planes"
> clear. And the two committees deliberately worked to converge on
> "supplementary characters" and "supplementary planes" for referring
> to characters > U+FFFF, so as to avoid another layer of confusion for
> 10646-2.

That's what I expected, and I'm pleased to be reassured.

> However, some of the terminology in the Unicode Standard was
> chosen to be distinct from 10646 years ago, and we live with the
> consequences.

As I suspected, but I didn't like to say so. I sometimes wonder whether, if
Unicode and 10646 hadn't got together when they did, we would ever have
heard of surrogate pairs. Like, had it been sooner, another way might have
been found; if later, it might never have happened, which would have been

We're all the prisoners of our past!

> > A joint glossary
> > would be useful.
> An editor who volunteers to produce the joint glossary would also be
> useful.

I hear you. Don't think I haven't tried, but I don't feel inclined to expose
myself to flak from both sides at once. Not only that, the target seems to
be moving, though perhaps it's converging on a limit at last.


> And yes, it would help matters a lot if the Unicode Standard were
> rewritten to make the character encoding model cleaner and the application
> of terminology less confusing. That is one of the major tasks slated
> for Unicode 4.0.

That's what I like to hear!

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