Re: Ciphers (Was: Berber/Tifinagh)

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Mon Nov 10 2003 - 20:17:14 EST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: Ciphers (Was: Berber/Tifinagh)"

    On 10/11/2003 14:53, John Hudson wrote:

    > At 01:57 PM 11/10/2003, Peter Kirk wrote:
    >> Define "cypher", or "cipher", and I will either provide evidence that
    >> the Theban script is not one or accept that, on your definition, it
    >> is one. In the absence of a definition this discussion is
    >> meaningless. Similarly if the definition is simply a whim as you
    >> implied, so a personal subjective choice against which there can be
    >> no evidence. Was it a whim that Theban and Klingon were rejected?
    > There is a lot of philosophical ground between a 'whim' and something
    > that is so clearly defined that it engenders no debate. I think a
    > definition of cipher that focuses on a deliberate representation of a
    > language with a set of signs that is different from that which is the
    > conventional representation of the language by the vast majority of
    > its users is sufficient. ...

    OK, let's use this as a tentative working definition. But first we need
    to clarify: how vast is a vast majority? As a hypothetical (I think)
    example, suppose that a community of 100 Chinese-speaking Jews is found
    which writes Chinese in Hebrew script, mainly for liturgical and
    religious purposes. Quite a tiny majority of the users of Chinese. Is
    this using Hebrew script as a cipher (obviously not one-to-one!) for
    Chinese? Or is it a recognised use of a different script? Then, how is
    the use of Theban script different?

    > ... A working definition doesn't need to eliminate all grey areas: it
    > is useful enough if it identifies what the grey areas are. ...

    OK. But there is no grey area between being in Unicode and not being in
    it, except I suppose being roadmapped for possible future inclusion.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Nov 10 2003 - 21:04:57 EST