Variation selectors and vowel marks

Date: Fri Apr 23 2004 - 11:59:05 EDT

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    I'm surfacing an issue from because it may have
    wider applicability.

    Currently, it's the rule that variation selector characters can't be
    applied to combining characters. This is sensible in the case of true
    diacritical marks: if two marks differ in shape, they ought in general
    to be encoded separately, since marks are primarily shape-based rather
    than functional in the first place.

    It's not so clear, however, that this rule is appropriate when applied
    to vowel signs. If some textual traditions represent vowels a and a'
    differently whereas others unify them, and if the variation is not
    predictable at the Unicode level, then it would seem appropriate to
    provide a vowel sign for a and define a VSS <a, VS1> to represent a'
    in those textual traditions in which it is in use. The alternative of
    providing a distinct vowel sign a' and treating the difference as one of
    spelling impacts backward compatibility and burdens textual processes.


    John Cowan
    Promises become binding when there is a meeting of the minds and consideration
    is exchanged. So it was at King's Bench in common law England; so it was
    under the common law in the American colonies; so it was through more than
    two centuries of jurisprudence in this country; and so it is today. 
           --Specht v. Netscape

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