Re: Rare extinct latin letters

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Mon Jun 02 2003 - 10:33:21 EDT

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    For odd and extinct characters or special alphabets, pending any actual
    coding by Unicode, it might be more desireable to treat them as a
    cyphers for the extended Latin alphabet rather than encoding them in the

    For example, if someone is using a character for the _ng_ sound in
    _singer_ then encode it as eng, lowercase U+014B, uppercase U+014A,
    regardless of its appearance.

    A special font would be needed to view the charactes correctly, but that
    is also true if the shapes are encoded in the PUA.

    The advantage to treating such alphabets as cyphers is that a user with
    some knowledge of IPA can read material written in them without having
    to learn the characters, but can also see the original appearance of the
    text simply by switching a font.

    Greek characters and Cyrillic characters might also be used.

    Some of the matching might be rather arbitrary.

    But there are doubtless thousands of various revisions of the Latin
    alphabet and invented scripts out there, most of which were scarcely or
    at all used by any but their inventors (as well as cypher systems like
    Morse Code and signal flags).

    There seems to me little to be gained from Unicode attempting to encode
    every one of these separately (along with any new systems people might

    Shavian, for example, might well have been encoded as an IPA cypher,
    simply by providing a cross-reference between Shavian character and
    Unicode IPA character.

    If a large amount of Shavian were to be placed on the web, and I wished
    to investigate it, I would probably create an IPA type font with
    appropriate IPA glyphs assigned to Unicode Shavian values, so I could
    investigate the material more easily without having to learn the Shavian

    Similarly with some syllabic systems I might create a Latin letter font
    with Lattin letter digraphs replacing the syllabic characters.

    Indeed, a Latin letter only Unicode font covering many non-Latin scripts
    might be quite useful, if one could get used to reading the words
    spelled backwards in Hebrew and Arabic, along with superscript and
    subscript vowels.

    Jim Allan

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