Re: Strange resemblances and weird sisters

From: Thomas Chan (
Date: Thu Jul 11 2002 - 08:07:57 EDT

On Wed, 10 Jul 2002, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

> Then in Extension B there are many, many weird and wonderful
> candidates for strangest CJK characters. Some of my
> personal favorites include:

Looks like they are all attempts to create modern reflexes of characters
that never made it past the seal script stage ~2,000 years ago.

> U+26B99
> U+20137

Neither of these two are in the _Kangxi Zidian_ or _Hanyu Da Zidian_--what
are they? They seem to be the fault? of CNS 11643.

> U+20572

Ancient form of U+96E8, yu3 'rain'. Looks like it, too! But U+96E8 is
more concise.

> U+2069C

Ancient form of U+20698, tao1, a basket for feeding cows. But this one
seems like an redundancy--certainly, neighoring U+206A1 would the closest
attempt at creating a modern reflex that mimics the appearance of the
ancient form, but also neighboring U+20698 looks more reasonable as a
modern reflex that looks modern. U+2069C just seems like an in-between
form that is neither here nor there, although _Hanyu Da Zidian_ does have it.

It seems like critics prefer U+20698--both _Kangxi Zidian_ and _Hanyu Da
Zidian_ include it, as well as a North Korean character set, and
CNS 11643, whereas U+206A1 is backed only by CNS 11643.

I wonder why these three were not unified--surely, they are just three
attempts to convert a dead character into a modern form that are within
the range of font or glyph variation. I think I know the answer is
source separation, but that would not prevent U+2069C...

> U+2696E

Ancient form of U+7232, wei2 'to make'; wei4 'on behalf of'. This doesn't
look like it is the direct ancestor of U+7232 like the 'rain' case above,
but an ancient form that lost out to the ancient form which was the
ancestor of U+7232.

> With such genetic defects, one would have expected such
> characters to die out long ago, but Unicode has brought them
> back to life.

Like U+2069C, which was born maybe 15-20 years ago...

> And of course, there is always the miraculous proliferation
> of turtles... ;-)

Look through the 'tiger' radical section of the SIP and there's a dozen or
so used as signs and flag signals just by the _Tian Di Hui_ organization.
I suppose some of them are technically logos...

Mind sharing a list of those turtles?

Thomas Chan

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