From: Mark E. Shoulson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Apr 29 2004 - 01:01:10 EDT
Dean Snyder wrote:
>Mark E. Shoulson wrote at 10:48 PM on Wednesday, April 28, 2004:
>>I think there probably should be more than one branch, and I can
>>certainly see no easy way to agree on how many or which. Take some
>>relatively respected tree and find important-looking nodes? I know I
>>have my own idiosyncratic feelings about "this and this are the same
>>script, these two aren't," but I probably couldn't prove them.
>And you are symptomatic, as am I, of most researchers in this field.
>The problem crops up in a situation like this:
>1) You find an Iron Age text in Israel that exhibits characteristics of
>both Phoenician and Aramaic orthography.
>2) The text shows possible Hebrew and Phoenician linguistic features, so
>you are not sure at all what language it represents.
In fairness, considering that Unicode is concerned with characters and
not languages, the linguistic analysis isn't relevant. If it had
features of Greek linguistics (for example) I wouldn't consider that
it's really Greek writing; it's Greek words written in
Phoenician/Aramaic. I have a picture in a book (to be scanned) of
Hebrew written in Arabic lettering with *Hebrew* vowel-points. The
language is Hebrew, undeniably. The script is not, and linguistic
features are irrelevant.
>3) How will you encode it, given you have at your disposal Hebrew,
>Phoenician, and Aramaic encodings?
I'm down to just Phoenician and Aramaic now. That's a start anyway.
>4) How will your possible miss-encoding affect future software results?
>As the situation stands right now, one simply encodes it in Hebrew or
>Latin transliteration, effectively deferring further analysis to other
>processes. This has its benefits.
And its drawbacks, since as you say, it's not an answer but a way of
avoiding an answer.
Mis-encoding? Another way to look at it is that by encoding it this way
or that way, you are thus making a *claim*, declaring the script to be
the one you most strongly believe it to be. What if you're wrong?
People, even respected researchers, have been wrong before, and science
marches on. (Other people, I mean; not me) If you don't want or don't
need to make such a claim, then you can use Hebrew as you do even now.
If you do want or need to make such a claim, then the consequences of
being wrong are they same as for any other claim.
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