Re: Ewellic

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu Nov 13 2003 - 12:53:40 EST

  • Next message: Jim Allan: "Re: Definitions"

    On 13/11/2003 08:32, Jim Allan wrote:

    > ...
    > For example Morse code, semaphore flags, braille, and bar codes are
    > often implemented in fonts as one-to-one transliterations of the
    > corresponding Latin characters. But these systems were not at all
    > designed to obscure the graphemes to which they point, but to reveal
    > their semantics clearly in situations where normal representations of
    > the original graphemes were not as usable.
    > Perhaps rather than "cipher" one should say that Unicode does not
    > encode separately scripts or systems intended solely as
    > transliterations of other scripts. Ciphers are a common example of
    > such scripts and systems.
    > Jim Allan
    Perhaps the point is more that these codes, as well as ciphers like
    Theban, are alternative representations of the same abstract characters,
    in the same sense as UTF-8, UTF-16 and UTF-32 are, or for that matter a
    bit pattern in a cable might be. As such they are distinct from
    different scripts, made up of different characters with different
    semantics. That is not a watertight definition, I know, but it seems to
    me more promising than focusing on secret intent or the size of the
    community of users.

    As for the cases not covered by this definition, I am reminded of an
    example of mixing scripts within one word, which I noticed several times
    in Azerbaijan, where both Latin and Cyrillic scripts are in use and
    there has been some confusion during the changeover from Cyrillic to
    Latin. The word, seen as a sign on a building, looked like:


    All the letters in that word are valid letters in the Latin script. But
    the intended word, pronounced something like IPA [jemækxana] (meaning
    "cafe"), should be either

    YEMƏKXANA (Latin) or
    ЈЕМӘКХАНА (Cyrillic)

    Note that in the form JEMƏKXANA the first letter is written as Cyrillic
    but the penultimate one as Latin, whereas the intermediate letters are
    (almost) the same in both scripts.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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