Re: Canadian Unified Syllabics

Date: Thu Feb 12 2004 - 12:58:30 EST

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    Here are some comments about UCAS suggestions.

    * Encode the pages as compliantly as possible.(Also about the overuse of
    PUA on my website

    -I spent all night making Unicode-only versions of the syllabics pages
    where appropriate. In the end, for Carrier and Blackfoot, it doesn't look
    too bad. Carrier is missing 2 characters (only one of which appears in the
    text) and Blackfoot is missing 1 character (which doesn't appear in the
    text). Apart from that, the remaining issues are stylistic, and don't
    really concern us here. I have also included some .pdf files of what a more
    neatly type-set version of the text would look like, using glyph variants
    and missing characters. For the Dene languages, the only major problem is
    with the baseline-midline-topline final situation. For now, I have used
    superscript numbers to mark where the final ought to appear. Doesn't look
    too good, but it's better than nothing.

    Question: Are there any Unicode characters that one could use to mark final
    height? Something like variation selectors? For an Opentype font, I need
    some invisible character to tell the font where the final should go. If
    nothing is appropriate, then I would suggest that three height selectors be
    formally submitted for unicode approval.

    * Offer the one font to fit all the pages while awaiting either
       language-specific fonts or OpenType technology availability.
    * Note on the pages that the one font aims to cover all syllabics, but that
       language-specific variants exist which can't yet be covered in a single
       font due to technological limitations.
    Done and done (or almost done anyway).

    * Use any combining dots and so forth from the COMBINING
       DIACRITIC range. (A font like Code2000 won't display these
       combiners well due to technology limitations, but, so what?
       In *your* font, you can place the combining glyphs so that
       their default position is acceptable and won't overstrike the
       base glyphs.)

    I am going to do a few things.
    1)I am going to leave Aboriginal serif as is, because people already have
    the font and may have documents typed already. I have many warnings all
    over the site about the drawbacks of using PUA. I also have a big notice
    that if at any time an old font from my site is obsolete, I will provide
    software to make documents compliant with a new font. Any new font will be
    Unicode and OpenType (hopefully any mutually agreed upon missing characters
    can be added to the standard by then)

    ii) I am making a Syllabics only Open-type font (staying away from a
    mega-Unicode font here), which will position diacritics, finals, etc.
    properly (hence the need for final-height-position characters). I will
    include the glyph variants as "historical" or "alternate" on a case by case
    basis. I have discovered that the new Adobe InDesign CS seems to process
    the syllabics opentype nicely (I think, I just downloaded it). This won't
    work yet on browsers, but if the web-site is done according to unicode (as
    best I can) then the opentype font will make it all look good in the future.

    iii) I am also going to make language specific Unicode fonts. One could
    look at syllabics as actually 4 scripts: Cree-Ojibway-Inuktitut, Dene,
    Carrier, and Blackfoot. The differences between these 4 could be likened to
    Roman, Cyrilic, and Greek: i.e. the alphabetical concept is pretty much the
    same, and several glyph shapes are shared between them. For this reason,
    it's tricky to get a Unified Range to look really nice. For a really
    nit-picky example, western Cree finals tend to be quite short and small,
    while eastern Cree finals have to be taller due to their more complex
    shape. Yet both eastern Cree and Western Cree share the 'h-final' U+1426.
    What happens is that either a tall h-final occurs alongside short
    western-finals, or a short h-final occurs alongside tall eastern finals.


    Also, in a few weeks, I would like to present to this forum a list of all
    the suggestions, comments, criticisms, etc. that have been posted. And we
    can see where to go from there.

    Thanks for everyone's comments so far. I hope we can get more opinions.


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