Re: New contribution

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 10:24:33 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: New contribution"

    At 23:01 -0400 2004-04-28, Dean Snyder wrote:

    >Michael Everson is one of the authors of the proposal to encode 2400
    >years of cuneiform in one unified encoding. There is far greater
    >disparity between URIII Sumerian and Neo-Babylonian embodied in that
    >proposed single encoding than there is between Old Phoenician and
    >Modern Israeli Hebrew script. Where's the consistency? Where's the
    >pattern here for us to follow?

    There isn't a recipe, as Ken said:

    > >There *are* no axiomatic principles of
    >>script identity which can be applied across the board to decide
    >>that and all other instances of historical boundaries for a
    >>candidate script to have its repertoire of characters separately
    >>encoded in Unicode.
    >I'm not asking for self-evident principles - I'm asking for TRIED and
    >PROVEN principles, or maybe just guidelines, but at least explicit ones.
    >If I would expect it from anyone on earth it would be from you encoding jocks.

    Well, I have pointed out script history, ductus, and modern
    legibility as criteria which I have followed. What I hear back is
    nothing more than "It is Hebrew! It is Hebrew!"


    > >1. Hebrew is already encoded, so just use Hebrew letters for
    > >everything and change fonts for every historical variety.
    >Which, along with transliteration, is precisely what the Phoenician
    >scholarly community is doing now.

    So you say. Most Phoenician fonts I have seen are Latin hacks. If
    some are Hebrew hacks, well, they are still hacks. There are Hebrew
    hacks for Samaritan, too, and there are Arabic hacks for N'Ko.

    > >2. Encode a separate repertoire for each stylistically distinct
    >>abjad ever recorded in the history of Aramaic studies, from
    >>Proto-Canaanite to modern Hebrew (and toss in cursive Hebrew, for
    >>that matter), starting with Tables 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, and 5.5 of
    >>Daniels and Bright and adding whatever you wish to that.
    >There is so much fluidity in such competing classifications that freezing
    >any one of them into several standard encodings would cause much data and
    >software distress.

    Quantify. I do not find such a high degree of fluidity (until you get
    to Aramaic proper which is so complex that we aren't looking into it.
    The scripts proposed for unification under Phoenician are pretty
    well-behaved, where REAL font variation can be seen.

    > >> I'm not saying we shouldn't encode the "landmarks" in the Canaanite
    >>> script continuum;
    >>You aren't? Good. Then instead of objecting on generic grounds
    >>to the Phoenician proposal, answer the following question:
    >>A. Does Phoenician constitute a "landmark" in the Canaanite
    >> script continuum? Yes/No
    >It depends ;-)
    >As I've stated on the Hebrew list, my reticence to the proposal is based
    >on two factors:
    >1) The script is wrongly called "Phoenician" - the same script was used
    >for Old Phoenician, Old Aramaic, Old Hebrew, Moabite, Ammonite, and
    >Edomite. That is why I propose it be named "[Old] Canaanite"

    I would consider Canaanite to be the pseudo-hieroglyphic Sinaitic.
    That splits into three: Ugaritic, South Arabian, and Phoenician. Mark
    and I will look at some more charts, but these seem to be the
    relevant nodes.

    >2) Discussions of this proposal have always been closely linked with
    >proposals to encode Aramaic and Samaritan.

    There are no proposals to encode Aramaic, as I say for the dozenth
    time. And Samaritan is definitely a beast of its own, descended from
    Phoenician, as Hebrew also is (through a separate and distinct path).

    >And this is where we step into really turbulent waters (to keep my
    >metaphor alive). My only suggestion has been that we slow down, do
    >not proceed precipitously, and get more scholarly input.

    The repertoire for Phoenician has not changed for a decade, apart
    from the numbers (and I did take note that we need to look at the
    fours and the fives again).

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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