From: John Hudson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Nov 09 2003 - 22:18:03 EST
At 05:47 PM 11/9/2003, Curtis Clark wrote:
>>I've given a lot of thought to transliteration and transcription at the
>Which comes back to the issue of ciphers. It would seem to me that
>glyph-level transliteration is the accepted behavior for ciphers (else we
>would actually have to address whether such things as Theban should be
>encoded, and Braille would have been a non-issue from the get-go). What
>determines whether a script is a cipher of another?
I offer this:
Any sign can be made a cipher by changing the signified. Writing systems
are collections of conventional signs, which means that there is
conventional agreement as to the signified. For example, the signifier 'A'
is conventionally agreed by users of Latin script languages to signify the
signified 'Latin uppercase letter A'. Users of Greek, Cyrillic, etc.
writing systems conventionally agree on different although historically
related sign relationships for the same signifier: so the Greek Alpha is
not a cipher of the Latin A, because its principle conventional association
is with a Greek letter. A cipher occurs when either 1) a signifier is
associated with something other than its conventional signified, or 2) the
signifier is associated with a signified that is conventionally associated
with a different signifier. The Theban cipher is an example of the latter:
these are a collection of signifiers that are associated with signified
that are conventionally associated with other signifiers, e.g. 'Latin
uppercase letter A'.
In Unicode terms, one could say that Unicode encodes what is signified as
characters, and these are signified, conventionally or otherwise, by glyph
signifiers. So there is no point in encoding the Theban cipher because its
signified are already encoded as Latin characters.
Tiro Typeworks www.tiro.com
Vancouver, BC email@example.com
I sometimes think that good readers are as singular,
and as awesome, as great authors themselves.
- JL Borges
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