Date: Wed Feb 05 2003 - 13:09:46 EST
Andrew C. West wrote,
> Is this not what the variation selectors are available for ?
> And now that we soon to have 256 of them, perhaps Unicode ought not to be shy
> about using them for characters other than mathematical symbols.
Yes, there seem to be additional variation selectors coming in
Unicode 4.0 as part of the 1207 (is that number right?) new
(What happens if someone discovers a 257th variant? Do they
get a prize? Or, would they be forever banished from polite
The variation selectors could be a practical and effective method
of handling different glyph forms.
But, consider the burden of incorporating a large amount of
variation selectors into a text file and contrast that with the
use of Plane Fourteen language tags. With the P14 tags, it's
only necessary to insert two special characters, one at the
beginning of a text run, the other at the ending.
Jim Allan wrote,
> One could start with indications as to whether the text was traditional
> Chinese, simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. :-(
> But I don't see that there is anything particularly wrong with citing or
> using a language in a different typographical tradition.
Neither do I. I kind of like seeing variant glyphs in runs of text and
am perfectly happy to accept unusual combinations.
Perhaps those of us who deal closely with multilingual material
and are familiar with variant forms are simply more tolerant
> ... A linguistic
> study of the distribution of the Eng sound might cite written forms with
> capital letters from Sami and some from African languages, but need not
> and probably should not be concerned about matching exactly the exact
> typographical norms in those tongues, for _eng_ or for any other letter.
On the one hand, there's a feeling that insistence upon variant glyphs
for a particular language is provincial. On the other hand, everyone
has the right to be provincial (or not). IMO, it's the ability to
choose that is paramount.
If anyone wishes to distinguish different appearances of an acute
accent between, say, French and Spanish... or the difference of the
ogonek between Polish and Navajo... or the variant forms of
capital eng, then there should be a mechanism in place enabling
them to do so.
Variation selectors would be an exact method with the V.S. characters
manually inserted where desired. P14 tags would also work for this;
entire runs of text could be tagged and those runs could be properly
rendered once the technology catches up to the Standard.
Neither V.S. nor P14 tags should interfere with text processing
or break any existing applications. There are pros and cons for
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