Re: Biblical Hebrew (Was: Major Defect in Combining Classes of Tibetan Vowels)

Date: Fri Jun 27 2003 - 05:22:30 EDT

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    Kenneth Whistler wrote on 06/26/2003 08:54:08 PM:

    > Actually, in casting around for the solution to the problem of
    > introduction of format controls creating defective combining
    > character sequences, it finally occurred to me that:
    > has the requisite properties.

    This seems far less problematic than either RLM or WJ, since it was
    decided that it functions between bases, but has no defined function
    between combining marks.

    But John's objections to this whole approach have validity.

    > I don't understand this contention. There is no reason, in principle,
    > why this has to be surfaced to end users of Biblical Hebrew...

    Your arguments in this regard, Ken, assume that the needs of Biblical
    Hebrew users are going to be addressed by dedicated engineering of all the
    software tools that they use with BH text. This includes rendering systems
    and fonts, but also apps, input methods, various kinds of text services...
    I think that's a bit unrealistic. Is something like Word (say) likely to
    be written to provide correct processing of CGJ (or whatever control is
    used) for BH, and do so in a way that is completely transparent to the
    user? It might be theoretically possible, but it's not terribly likely.
    (Perhaps just slightly more than is the likelihood that UTC will just
    revise the combining classes? :-)

    > Nope, just insert CGJ in *all* the sequences. That blocks all reordering
    > of such sequences, and you're done.

    And I suppose this is considered elegant, right?

    > > and adds another level of complexity to using
    > > what are already some of the most complicated fonts in existence (how
    > > fonts do you know that come with 18 page user manuals?).
    > That, of course, I am in no position to be able to judge.

    Having reviewed the doc in question and being familiar with user manuals
    for other fonts, and can assure you it's quite unusual -- surreal, almost
    -- to see a user doc with the level of technical detail this one has, and
    by necessity, not choice.

    I just have a hard time believing that 50 years from now our grandchildren
    won't look back, "What were they thinking? So it took them a couple of
    years to figure out canonical ordering and normalization; why on earth
    didn't they work that out first before setting things in stone, rather
    than saddling us with this hodgepodge of ad hoc workarounds? How short
    sighted." As Rick said, I know this will get shot down; don't bother
    telling me so.

    - Peter

    Peter Constable

    Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
    7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
    Tel: +1 972 708 7485

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