Re: Irish dotless I (was: Languages with letters that always take diacriticals

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Wed Mar 17 2004 - 20:43:23 EST

  • Next message: Carl W. Brown: "RE: Irish dotless I (was: Languages with letters that always take diacriticals"

    At 00:20 +0000 2004-03-18, Marion Gunn wrote:

    >I do know my language is being badly served, however.

    The Irish language is in no way "badly served" by the Unicode
    Standard or by ISO/IEC 10646.

    >Some Unicode oldtimers may recall the 'Irish long s' debate (before your
    >time, Jon), when, finally persuaded that only 10646/Unicode could guarantee
    >its continuance, I threw all of my company's resources into campaigning for

    LATIN SMALL LETTER LONG S was not encoded in the Unicode Standard or
    ISO/IEC 10646 because of representations made by anyone in Ireland.
    It is incorrect to state that there was an "Irish long s" debate.

    >That particular campaign was such a resounding 'success' we went on
    >to spend thousands of quid each year, for many years, trekking one
    >more encoding campaign trail after another, in support of many other
    >languages, as well as our own.

    Revisionist discussion of economic choices taken while you and I did
    business together prior to 2001 were inappropriate when you raised
    them on this forum in July 2002, and they are inappropriate now.

    >Guess what?
    >We were wrong about 'long s'.
    >Dead wrong.
    >We didn't need that encoded in Unicode/10646 for the sake of the Irish at all.

    The facts of the matter are otherwise. The precomposed LATIN SMALL
    LETTER LONG S WITH DOT ABOVE was encoded in order to permit
    round-trip conversion between Unicode and a number of 8-bit character
    sets used for Irish. The use of this character is not, and was not,
    recommended for use in Irish. It was, however, a fact that data
    existed using character sets which contained this character, for good
    or for ill; it was encoded as a legacy character.

    >The possibility of using (Turkish) dotless i to ensure the current
    >objective was first mooted a time when we were bogged down in the
    >extremely expensive business of subsidizing the development of
    >computerized fonts derived from native Irish models.

    LATIN SMALL LETTER DOTLESS I occurred in the Macintosh character set,
    and occurs in the 8-bit character sets I developed for Irish in 1989.
    At no time was it "mooted" that this letter be used to write Irish.

    The development of my Gaelic fonts was not "expensively subsidized"
    by "us" in any way whatsoever. This statement is revisionist and
    untrue. It is disingenuous to speak of "your company's" work in
    Unicode standardization in the way that you do. "Your company" made
    contributions to this effort only when I was co-owner and co-director
    of that company, and those contributions came to an end when I ceased
    to be associated with it. I remark on this for the benefit of
    newcomers to this list, in order that they not be misled.

    >So, my question still is (having scanned dozens of Unicode responses
    >to my msg this wk) our perennial, modest request of how to guarantee
    >continuance, in the specific context of Irish text computing, of the
    >traditional restriction of the Irish diacritic dot (having only one
    >single function in Irish) to the consonants to which it belongs?

    COMBINING DOT ABOVE can be freely used on any base letter of the
    Latin script. The dot on the LATIN SMALL LETTER I in Roman fonts is
    unrelated to the COMBINING DOT ABOVE character. Irish can be
    correctly and completely represented in the Unicode Standard.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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