Re: Biblical Hebrew

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu Jun 26 2003 - 20:28:57 EDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: Biblical Hebrew"

    At 03:52 PM 6/26/2003, Rick McGowan wrote:

    >I'll weigh in to agree with Ken here. The solution of cloning a whole set
    >of these things just to fix combining behavior is, to understate, not quite

    No, but would be far from the not nicest thing in Unicode, and there's a
    really good reason for it. I was originally intrigued by Ken's ZWJ idea --
    or by a variant of it using some new re-ordering inhibiting character, to
    avoid overloading ZWJ any further --, but the more I think about it, the
    more not nice I think it is to force Biblical scholars to carry the can for
    errors in the Unicode combining classes.

    Control characters, usually ZWJ and ZWNJ, seem to get proposed as solutions
    to all sorts of text processing complexities. Some of these are perfectly
    legitimate and reflect the need of users to be able to to control the
    display of text in different ways, e.g. by forcing half-forms in Indic
    scripts. But I don't think control characters should be used as fixes for
    mistakes, especially not when the distinction is not between two different
    but equally valid ways of displaying the same text, e.g. as a conjunct
    ligature or with half-forms, but between displaying text correctly or
    incorrectly. How many English users would accept a text processing model in
    which the distinction between 'goal' and 'gaol' relied on insertion of a
    control character between the vowels? I believe the aim in fixing this
    problem in Unicode should be to provide Biblical scholars with a good text
    processing experience, not with awkward kludges, even if that means making
    the Unicode Hebrew block look weird with duplicated marks. The standard
    should serve the users, not the aesthetic and organisational sensitivities
    of the people who design the standard.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores,
    are labeled New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine,
    who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint
    Augustine and Stonehenge -- that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.
                                                                 - Umberto Eco

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