Re: What is the principle?

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Fri Mar 26 2004 - 19:02:48 EST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: What is the principle?"

    On 26/03/2004 13:31, Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > ...
    >We will probably soon see new characters added to Hebrew because of problems for
    >the interpretation of Biblic texts, or simply because the currently used
    >characters can't fit with any other symbol or letters borrowed from other
    >scripts as they have the wrong character properties for usage in Hebrew.

    Philippe, you are as so often misrepresenting the situation.

    As far as I know the only proposals for new characters for biblical
    Hebrew which are current or expected in the near future are 1) a
    proposal for two characters found occasionally in the text which have
    not yet been encoded (lower dot and nun hafukha,; and 2) a proposal for
    one new accent which has not previously been properly distinguished from
    another one (atnah hafukh, These are not being
    proposed because of problems of interpretation of the biblical text, but
    because of problems in properly representing the text at the glyph
    level. There is no possibility of using characters borrowed from other
    scripts, and this has never been suggested, although in at least one
    font the script generic COMBINING DOT BELOW has been used for the Hebrew
    lower dot.

    Beyond that, the only additional Hebrew characters I expect to see
    encoded are for non-Tiberian pointing systems. Each of these three
    systems is almost a separate script - the same base characters but
    different sets of vowel points and accents.

    I know there is one person who wants to encode new Hebrew characters
    which are graphically identical to existing ones but semantically
    different. It is unlikely that such proposals will succeed, not least
    because in most cases there is no general agreement on the semantic
    distinctions. (Compare for example that any proposal to encode a
    distinct silent h for French would founder immediately on the lack of
    agreement between all dialects about which h's are silent.) The best
    principle, for Hebrew and for most other cases, is to encode what is
    written i.e. the glyph distinctions, and not what people think it means.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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