Re: Newbie Question - what are all those duplicated characters FO R?

From: John Cowan (
Date: Mon Aug 11 2003 - 13:12:01 EDT

  • Next message: "RE: Newbie Question - what are all those duplicated characters FO R?" scripsit:

    I've formatted my reply to your question as a FAQ entry. FAQkeeper, please
    take note.

    Q. Wouldn't it have made more
    sense to simply have introduced a few new combining characters in plane 0,
    such as: "make bold", "make italic", "make script", "make fraktur", "make
    double-struck", "make sans serif", "make monospace" and "make tag". This
    would not only have achieved the same effect (and with the same space
    requirements too, at least for things like "bold uppercase A" in UTF-16),
    but with much greater flexibility (in that you could also make _other_
    characters bold too, and you could create combinations of the attributes not
    currently represented).

    A. It would have provided too much flexibility, and would have tempted people
    to use such characters to create "poor man's markup" schemes rather than
    using proper markup such as SGML/HTML/XML. The mathematical letters and
    digits are meant to be used only in mathematics, where the distinction
    between a plain and a bold letter is fundamentally semantic rather than

    > I still haven't figured out what "fullwidth" means though. I don't really
    > understand in what way a "full width full stop" (FF0E) is different from a
    > "full stop" (002E), etc. I _have_ downloaded, and read in entirety, the code
    > chart document for FF00-FFEF, and nothing in that document explains to me
    > why these characters are necessary. Does anyone have any clues on that one?

    Fullwidth characters are used for backward compatibility with CJK character
    sets, which have a notion of "fullwidth" and "halfwidth" characters.
    Fullwidth characters are the same width as individual CJK characters and
    fit into a uniform square grid. They should not be used except for

    John Cowan
    Most languages are dramatically underdescribed, and at least one is 
    dramatically overdescribed.  Still other languages are simultaneously 
    overdescribed and underdescribed.  Welsh pertains to the third category.
            --Alan King

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