RE: Punctuation symbols for partial cuneiform characters

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Fri Sep 05 2003 - 10:37:27 EDT

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    Kent Karlson wrote on my comments that *deliberate* use of LESS-THAN and
      GREATER-THAN for angle brackes did not require that clones be encoded
    in Unicode:

    > Of course not. The example you cite, as well as for similar examples,
    > e.g. XML/SGML (and their "applications"), and many others, < > are
    > used just BECAUSE they are in ASCII (and invariant in EBCDIC), and
    > these uses cannot assume that any non-ASCII (and/or, depending
    > on scope, non-EBCDIC) characters are at all directly representable.
    > Actually, the example you cite were in draft form using the angle
    > brackets, though no code points were referenced, but that was
    > changed for the reason I mention here). The reason is the same
    > for keeping English formal names of Unicode characters purely
    > in ASCII repertoire (intersected with the invariant EBCDIC
    > *repertoire*).
    > This is not maintained for the formal French names though...

    Yes. It is often desireable to portrary notations invented to be usable
    within the ASCII character set with the same set of characters even when
    presented in text where a larger set of characters are used.

    What I find interesting is that glyphs that appear to be GREATER-THAN
    and LESS-THAN are used for angle brackets in circumstances where keeping
      the notation in a form that can be coded exactly in ASCII wouldn't
    seem to be an issue.

    In linguistics angle brackets have long been a standard method to
    indicate grapheme representation as opposed to phonemic or phonetic
    representation but I've noticed GREATER-THAN and LESS-THAN glyphs being
    used instead of more traditional angle-bracket glyphs even in books and
    articles which contain such a large number of special linguistic
    characters that one would not expect typographical constraints to be an

    An example in front of me is _Writing Systems: An introduction to their
    linguistic analysis_ by Florian Coulmas, Cambridge: Cambridge University
    Press, 2003.

    For a past example, I also have _Altbabylonische Briefe in Umschrift und
    ‹bersetzung_ edited by F. R. Kraus (Leiden, 1964) which is an edition of
    transliterated Old Babylonian letters with German translation. Kraus
    uses GREATER-THAN and LESS-THAN glyphs which he calls "spitzen Klammern"
    to indicate characters which he has added to the text as probably
    omitted in error by the original writer.

    This use of such glyphs as angle brackets predates ASCII itself much
    less the overloaded use of LESS-THAN and GRATER-THAN encouraged by their
    presence in ASCII and basic EBCDIC (and scientific BCDIC).

    Also characters which Kraus judges redundant are enclosed by what he
    calls "doppelten spitzen Klammern" which are in form U+2AA1 DOUBLE

    Jim Allan

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