Re: Against Phoenician

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 17:01:20 EDT

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    While I continue to be convinced that the 22 character repertoire of shapes
    contained in the proposal is indeed well-known, as asserted by the
    submitter, I am far less certain now that it would constitute progress to
    encode these as characters.

    I would want to see a lot more in terms of positive justification, and/or
    endorsement from a significant and identifiable group of prospective users
    before I would consider myself comfortable with progressing this. So far,
    not very much has surfaced along these lines in the ongoing discussion. I
    don't find that very encouraging, and it contributes to my sense that this
    is premature - not because the characters can't be enumerated or named, but
    because of the uncertainty of the usage model and intended user group.

    The situation is different from some other archaic scripts where neither
    the sets of symbols nor the languages that can be written in them are
    currently encoded. For those scripts, even if the scholarly community
    prefers to do its work in transliteration, encoding the script is necessary
    to allow representation of the texts as such, for whatever purposes that is

    In this instance, treating the earlier scripts as a style variation of a
    later script appears not only feasible, but would support a continuity in
    searching for material in apparently at least one of the important
    languages. By not separately encoding any of the earlier scripts, a
    technology based on (Hebrew encoded) fonts allows anyone to depict text in
    these scripts today, using the widest possible range of existing
    implementations, as opposed to having to wait for uncertain future support.

    That to me seems a benefit that could outweigh the fact that, just as for
    Gaelic, or running Fraktur text, certain distinctions simply cannot be made
    in *plain* text.

    No such solution exists for those archaic scripts, where either the range
    of symbols (e.g. hieroglyphics) or their layout behavior is sufficiently
    different from the modern script. For those scripts, the alternative
    therefore doesn't have to be investigated. However, for this script and its
    cousins, we cannot just point to dis-similar precedent or brush off the
    question. It must be addressed, and as John rightly noted, not just the
    conclusion but the supporting evidence and rationale must be documented.


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