From: Marco Cimarosti (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Aug 22 2003 - 14:29:04 EDT
Mark Davis wrote:
> Technical Report issues would be fine.
> I think #1 is worth considering. For #2, see other message to
> Peter Kirk.
I agree with your statement: "The purpose of the Pattern Syntax characters
is *not* to list everything that is a symbol or punctuation mark". But that
is what Kirk suggested, not what I proposed.
I proposed to exclude a *limited* set of script-specific punctuation that
*might* be confused with punctuation characters normally used in the syntax
of computer languages, either because they look identical, or because they
are perceived culturally as "another form of the same character".
E.g., I kept out from the list everything belonging to ancient scripts
(who's going to write programs in Linear B!?) and anything that I suspected
would be valid inside a word or expression: hyphens, emphasis markers,
ellipsis marks, etc.
You said that the list of ranges must be invariable, but I doubt that we
will many new *modern* and *commonly* used punctuation marks in future
versions, so think that this requirement for invariability can reasonably be
I already made the example of the Greek question mark which may be mistaken
for a semicolon. That is *not* an unlikely situation: if a Greek programmer
has his keyboard in Greek mode (because he just finished typing an
identifier containing Greek letters) he may well forget to turn it to Latin
mode before typing the trailing semicolon.
Similarly, due to the fact that some punctuation characters (parentheses,
etc.) are mirrored in a RTL context, an Arab programmer may think that "؟"
is just an alternate RTL glyph for "?", so he may be puzzled by apparently
absurd error messages.
E.g., he types:
And the system calls routine "foo" passing variable "bar" to it. ("?" is the
"call" operator of this hypothetical programming language).
So, he switches to Arabic mode and types:
But the system says: "Undeclared identifier". But he is *sure* that he did
declare a routine named "فو", and a variable named "بار", so what's going
on? If the system said instead: "Character '؟' is not a legal operator",
everything would be much clearer.
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