RE: Cuneiform Free Variation Selectors

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Jan 20 2004 - 19:36:36 EST

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    On 20/01/2004 11:27, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    > ...
    >If you are representing Han data as Unicode plain text, and you
    >run into a "newly discovered character", you are stuck. Your options
    > 1. Use a "geta" (U+3013), i.e. throw up your hands and punt.
    > 2. Use an Ideographic Description Sequence to get an approximate
    > description as a substitute.
    > 3. Ask the character encoding committees to encode the character
    > (a process that will take a long while).
    > 4. Ask the character encoding committees to make the character
    > representable by a designated variation sequence (a process
    > that also make take a long while, but which could shortcircuit
    > things considerably if the known lists of these things were
    > all processed ahead of time).
    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.

    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.

    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.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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