Re: Arid Canaanite Wasteland (was: Re: New contribution)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 00:24:36 EDT

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    Kenneth Whistler scripsit:

    > Nothing, to my mind, illustrates the utter aridity of the
    > discussion that has been going on today than the fact that
    > the essential core of the encoding proposal for Phoenician
    > has lain dormant for 12 years with *NO* controversy about
    > the identity of the characters.

    There's been plenty else to think about in the meantime. As long
    as these 22CWSA's weren't being taken off the table, the proposals
    did no harm and were useful documentation. Now the rubber has met
    the road.

    > Not a *SINGLE* comment
    > has been made, through the 17 yards of discussion on the
    > list today, about any technical detail of Michael's
    > encoding proposal -- not even about the one and only possibly
    > controversial aspect I can see in it, the proposal to encode a

    As far as I can see, Michael's proposal is technically impeccable.

    > The only potentially actionable new thing today that I have heard is
    > that *some* people (exact identity unclear) *might* be mollified if
    > the *name* of the script proposed for encoding were designated "Old
    > Canaanite", instead of "Phoenician" [...]. My reaction to that is
    > that such a name change would be a sop [...].

    I agree.

    > Everything else discussed today boils down to a long
    > argument about whether *anything* at all should be encoded,
    > or whether the entire proposal is superfluous.


    > I don't believe that anyone has any realistic technical
    > objection to Michael's proposal in any detail, and
    > since it is clear that failing any technical flaw the
    > proposal will proceed to be approved by the character
    > encoding committees, the alternative is to attack on the
    > basis of a failure of consensus for the *need* for encoding
    > the script. And in particular, to call into question the
    > identity of Phoenician *as* a script.

    Sure. An alternate version of Michael could present a similarly
    technically impeccable proposal for Gaelic script, and then
    the question would be, is it the same as Latin, or is it a
    separate script requiring a separate encoding? Some of us,
    perhaps all of us, would attack it on the very grounds that
    Phoenician is being attacked.

    > But keep in mind the following observation: A consensus
    > among *some* people that they do not have a need for
    > an encoding does not constitute a consensus (for the
    > encoding committees) that there is no need for an
    > encoding.

    I agree. But I also want to note that separate encoding has an
    implementation cost as well as a cost to the Consortium.

    "We are lost, lost.  No name, no business, no Precious, nothing.  Only empty.
    Only hungry: yes, we are hungry.  A few little fishes, nassty bony little
    fishes, for a poor creature, and they say death.  So wise they are; so just,
    so very just."  --Gollum

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