Re: Bangla: [ZWJ], [VIRAMA] and CV sequences

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu Oct 09 2003 - 11:12:20 CST

On 09/10/2003 08:44, Unicode (public) wrote:

> ...
>Yeah, you're right.
>I presume you're talking here mostly about the combining classes of the
>Hebrew vowel points. ...
Mostly. I have come across other similar cases e.g. the Arabic hamza
issue recently discussed on the bidi list, perhaps also the distinction
between Greek tonos and acute. They are all cases where the stability
policy forbids changes of combining class or deletion of a redundant

>... That was a case where even though the Hebrew
>encoding was clearly broken (insofar as Biblical Hebrew was concerned,
>anyway), ...
What is broken is the encoding of any sequence of vowels. Because of
this no one had used Unicode for sequences of vowels. Except that
someone may have tried, and although the resulting texts would be mixed
up and invalid, apparently for backward compatibility that mixed-upness
and invalidity has to be preserved.

>... fixes for the problem were constrained because there was a need
>to maintain backward compatibility ACROSS THE WHOLE STANDARD for reasons
>unrelated to Biblical Hebrew. So yeah, here the need to preserve
>backward compatibility tells us Unicode in general was good enough for
>people to use it, ...
Happily, yes! It would still have been good enough to use without those
stability guarantees. It seems to me that some unwise promises were made
which have caused the backward compatibility issue. I'm not convinced
that those promises contributed much to the usability of Unicode; they
may have made life a bit easier for some people, e.g. those who want to
rely on data being normalised without the overhead of checking it, but
made things a lot more difficult for some others.

>... even though they couldn't use it for Biblical Hebrew.
>So yeah, I overstated my case.
>--Rich Gillam
> Language Analysis Systems

Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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