Re: Characters for Cakchiquel

From: William Overington (
Date: Fri Mar 28 2003 - 11:36:19 EST

  • Next message: David Starner: "Re: Characters for Cakchiquel"

    Phil Blair wrote as follows.


    2. The Jesuits and other missionaries of the Age of Exploration worked
    and published intensively in then-exotic languages on four continents. There
    are scholars and groups of scholars now attempting to look systematically at
    that body of work. I suspect that there is no stange character that could
    turn up in a Maya text from that period that wouldn't also turn up in texts
    about South American, Asian, or African languages, and when we do deal with
    these characters it would be best to do it in a systematic and comprehensive
    way. They will all reflect a common origin in the missionary training
    institutions of Europe.

    end quote

    That research sounds fascinating. Do you have any details of who is doing
    the research please? I am not a linguist yet do have a great interest in
    the typographical aspects of the way special characters were printed by the
    early printers. I also have an interest in history so such a project would
    be doubly interesting for me.

    I suggest that a good idea would be if those of us who are interested could
    research the typography and printing aspects and that a Private Use Area
    encoding could be made of the special characters. Then various craft
    fontmakers might all use the same encoding and start to produce fonts which
    contain the characters. For example, as a first suggestion, if U+E400 and
    upwards were used for that purpose, would that be a suitable choice for the
    various font makers who might like to consider adding such characters into
    their existing fonts? The long term goal would be to get the characters
    promoted into regular Unicode, yet using the Private Use Area would allow
    documents to be encoded rather sooner than if one needs to wait for encoding
    into regular Unicode and any such documents encoded could be converted by an
    automated process at a later date. Indeed, using the Private Use Area in
    this manner and having font availability might help the research. My
    suggestion of U+E400 is as a basis for discussion: does anyone happen to
    know if the researchers have already started a Private Use Area encoding
    please as that possibility needs to be checked before starting a new

    Does anyone happen to know if any of the metal fonts, or matrices, of such
    characters survive from the sixteenth century please? From the general
    history of printing there does seem to be a great lack of surviving early
    printing type, which has always seemed strange to me, as well as

    William Overington

    28 March 2003

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