Precomposed Ethiopic (Was: Precomposed Tibetan)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Dec 18 2002 - 00:53:34 EST

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    At 01:25 PM 12/17/2002, Carl W. Brown wrote:

    > > >I was disappointed that Unicode used precomposed encoding for Ethiopic.
    > >
    > > Heavens, why?
    >I assume that you are being tongue-in-cheek. If not:
    >Since you key in syllables as consonant+vowel combinations you can keep the
    >encoding under 256 characters like most other languages with syllabic glyphs
    >and keep the processing consistent with other languages.

    With which other languages? Not Yi, or the languages that use the Canadian
    Aboriginal Syllabics.

    The processing model for scripts in Unicode tends to follow fairly closely
    the nature of the scripts as traditionally understood. The Tibetan script,
    like Korean Hangul and also like the Indic scripts from which it derives,
    is generative: syllables are built by the manipulation, substitution and
    positioning of sub-syllabic units. This is inherent in the design of these

    The Ethiopic script is *not* made up of sub-syllabic units: the syllable is
    the minimum unit of writing. The same is true to Yi and the Canadian
    Aboriginal Syllabics. The fact that Ethiopic has recently been input
    phonetically should not lead to confusion about the inherent nature of the
    script, which is not generative.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    A book is a visitor whose visits may be rare,
    or frequent, or so continual that it haunts you
    like your shadow and becomes a part of you.
                            - al-Jahiz, The Book of Animals

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