Re: Berber/Tifinagh (was: Swahili & Banthu)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sun Nov 09 2003 - 16:53:44 EST

  • Next message: Chris Jacobs: "Transliterating font"

    From: "Michael Everson" <>
    > At 19:30 +0100 2003-11-09, Philippe Verdy wrote:
    > >So my question is, once again: would a font that would display pointed
    > >glyphs from Tifinagh script code points really break the Unicode model?
    > Yes, Philippe. It is the same thing as mapping Cyrillic to ASCII
    > letters. It is a hack. It is to be avoided. It is the Wrong Thing To
    > Do.
    > >If not, then we have a convenient way to define Tifinagh keyboards /
    > >input methods based on this _apparent_ transliteration.
    > This has nothing to do with encoding. You are harkening back to the
    > hideous world of 8-bit font hacks of twenty years ago.

    Hey! I did not say that the Tifinagh script should be encoded with the same
    code points as the Latin script. We clearly need a separate encoding of the
    Tifinagh script. I don't want to reuse the same code points (so this is
    completely opposite to the old 8-bit hack where the same code positions were
    used with distinct meanings).

    In fact that's exactly the opposite which may be possible: the Tifinagh code
    point could have two graphical representations: the classical one with its
    exclusive glyphs, or the Latin one. Such tolerance is not allowed when
    representing code points assigned to Latin letters, so Berber texts that are
    already coded with Latin code points (using many more or less successful but
    incompatible conventions) will need an explicit transliterator to convert
    them in the new common script...

    But the new script would gain an immediate representation with existing
    Latin fonts (for example a Times New Roman or Arial font, updated to support
    the Tifinagh code points), until new fonts that support the classical glyphs
    become available to users. Of course, to not break this evolution, there's a
    need of some consensus about which alternate Latin (or Greek) glyph can
    safely represent the Tifinagh code point. Then it's up to the user of that
    script to select which font best represents the script and it becomes a
    matter of style...

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