RE: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Jan 20 2004 - 20:27:00 EST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "RE: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors"

    Peter Kirk suggested:

    > Presumably the same principles can be applied when you run into a newly
    > discovered (probably archaic) cuneiform character. Except that for some
    > reason, Ken, you classified "dynamic cuneiform" as Type VI: Glyph
    > Description Language. Why can't it be seen as Type V: Ideographic
    > Character Description, encoded with "pseudo-operator-like" symbols (Dean
    > proposed just 14 of them)? That would provide a solution for newly
    > discovered cuneiform as well as for newly discovered Han.

    Such a scheme could, of course, also be suggested, although it
    wasn't what Dean Snyder was proposing.

    > I am not suggesting that this model should be used for common cuneiform
    > characters any more than for common CJK characters; the static model,
    > which was once agreed on, can stand. I am suggesting it only as a
    > mechanism for describing newly discovered characters.

    I doubt it would be cost-effective for cuneiform. The number of
    additional signs turning up will (most likely) be small, and the
    benefit in having a set of symbols to attempt a syntactic
    description of them from pieces would be small. It would be much
    more effective in most instances to simply write the description
    of the missing sign in terms of traditional cuneiform names
    and "SIGN1 TIMES SIGN2" etc. to indicate various types of
    productive composition for the new combinations which might turn

    And adding such schemes is not without cost. Even if they were
    a new set of symbols strictly limited to cuneiform sign
    description, they would set a precedent that somebody else would
    try to apply in some inappropriate context.

    Having the Ideographic Description Characters in Unicode has
    mostly been a cost -- a cost in misunderstanding and a cost for
    the editors in trying to correct misunderstandings. I have yet
    to hear of much actual benefit for them, except that they enable
    round-trip mapping to GB 18030. :-(

    > And then if a font designer chooses to provide a glyph and a mechanism
    > for displaying it when the corresponding ideographic description
    > sequence is encountered, whether in Han or in cuneiform, presumably that
    > is permitted. Ken, you wrote
    > >There is no
    > >requirement for a conformant Unicode renderer to actually attempt
    > >a rendering of the Han character so described.
    > >
    > - but your wording implies that a renderer may do so if it wishes,
    > although with current technology more or less the only way it can do so
    > is to substitute a predefined glyph.

    Yes, it may do so. Just as a cuneiform renderer could take
    a description such as "SIGN1 TIMES SIGN2" and map it to a
    predefined glyph for the otherwise unencoded sign. Such behavior
    is simply a higher-level protocol defined on top of the text


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Jan 20 2004 - 21:11:33 EST