Re: Aramaic, Samaritan, Phoenician - and Hebrew

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Jul 15 2003 - 05:41:49 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Aramaic, Samaritan, Phoenician"

    Thank you, Michael, Ken and others.

    I wasn't aware that the Samaritan script is in current use. In that
    case, and assuming that the modern users do not see this alphabet as a
    variant of Hebrew (or Syriac or Arabic), it should indeed be encoded
    separately in Unicode.

    On the argument that the name of God is sometimes written in
    paleo-Hebrew: surely this is simply a glyph variant. If I find a Latin
    script Bible etc in which the name of God, and nothing else, is written
    in italics - or in small caps which is actually a common practice - is
    that justification for encoding a separate italic, or small caps, Latin
    alphabet? Or perhaps this name of God can be considered as a special
    glyph on its own, cf. U+FDF2. But I can see the argument that
    paleo-Hebrew and Phoenician are sufficiently different from prototypical
    Hebrew that they should be considered a separate script. On the other
    hand, modern handwritten Hebrew is probably at least as different from
    prototypical Hebrew, and may even be separately derived from ancient
    Phoenician via paleo-Hebrew.

    It seems to me that the case is much less clear for Aramaic. The glyphs
    proposed in (which is
    linked to from the roadmap) are apparently the Palmyrene ones from
    figure 5.5 column XVIII of A comparison of these
    with the Hebrew square characters in column XVII, and with the
    prototypical Unicode glyphs for Hebrew, shows significant differences in
    only 3-4 letters. The same seems to be true of the Nabatean script,
    although some of the variants given show tendencies towards Arabic as
    well. These kinds of differences seem to me within the acceptable
    boundaries of font changes. Again the differences from prototypical
    Hebrew are less than between modern handwritten Hebrew and prototypical

    I would agree with John that it would be good to have input from Hebrew
    readers on this. I have added Hebrew to the subject line in the hope of
    attracting some attention.

    Peter Kirk

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