Klingons and their allies - Beyond 17 planes

From: Jill Ramonsky (Jill.Ramonsky@aculab.com)
Date: Fri Oct 17 2003 - 04:00:45 CST

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Kirk [mailto:peterkirk@qaya.org]
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 4:04 PM
> To: Philippe Verdy
> Cc: unicode@unicode.org
> Subject: Beyond 17 planes, was: Java char and Unicode 3.0+
> Plenty of
> room there to encode not just all the scripts of the Galactic
> Federation
> but even to squeeze in those of the Klingons and their allies!

The reason that the Klingon alphabet is not currently part of Unicode is
that the Klingon Language Institute submitted a proposal for the Klingon
script to the Unicode Consortium, and the Unicode consortium rejected
it. I have been unable to fathom their reasons.

It seems a simple enough case to argue - EITHER the 0x110000 character
space is amply big enough for everyone, as John Cowan asserts. (I quote,
"Similarly, the number of characters used by the peoples of the Earth
for writing their various languages is not going to be expanded by the
discovery of 10,000 characters used for writing the lost script
of Atlantis. The earth is finite and small, and there's no place for
large writing systems to hide from the eagle eyes of the Roadmappers."),
OR it isn't, in which case there is an argument for adding more planes.
[I should stress at this point the Klingon script /is/ used by the
peoples of the Earth, right here in the 21st century]. Here's what the
Klingon Language Institute has to say:

    /The Klingon *pIqaD *script was on the Roadmap for inclusion in
    Unicode for several years before it was rejected. There were many
    debates on its appropriateness, with one camp maintaining that
    fictional scripts in general, and Klingon in particular, didn't
    belong in Unicode. That view was eventually defeated, with the
    relevant criteria ending up being whether a script is used by a
    large enough body of users who need to exchange data, and whether it
    is historically important enough with respect to existing recorded
    data. Klingon was rejected, but it failed because its potential
    users don't use it. The fact is that Klingon language publications,
    by and large, use the Romanized transcription presented in The
    Klingon Dictionary. This is arguably a chicken-and-egg situation,
    but nobody argued that point successfully to the relevant Unicode
    committees. /

    /However, being rejected doesn't mean that Klingon is not compatible
    with Unicode today. Some years ago, Klingon was one of the supported
    languages in a popular distribution of the Linux operating system,
    with a *pIqaD *-style metafont character set mapped to a specific
    region of the Unicode Private Use Area. That mapping has been made
    somewhat more "public" in the CSUR, a published list of constructed
    scripts: /

It seems to me that if 0x110000 codepoints isn't a big enough space to
fit in the Klingon alphabet (and other alphabets which were similarly
rejected) then we need more codepoints. Simple as that. The "chicken and
egg" situation described above is quite real. Esperanto speakers were
writing c^, ch and even cx /long/ before the character c^ became
available for everyone's use. More codepoints may allow more scripts not
to be rejected in the first place.


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