Drumming them out

From: Nick Nicholas (opoudjis@optushome.com.au)
Date: Fri Apr 30 2004 - 21:53:32 EDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: An attempt to focus the PUA discussion [long]"

    Not like we haven't seen the same debate between Michael and
    specialists before... From my own Unicode site's "Don't Proliferate,
    Transliterate" mantra, it should be clear where my sympathies lie. But
    as to Ken's dictum that

    > Semiticists could, if they so wish,
    > establish a de facto rule that they will drum anyone clear out
    > of the discipline if they encounter any professional Semiticist
    > daring to use Phoenician letters to represent Palaeo-Hebrew
    > text. Frankly, I doubt it will come to that.

    --- I think it can quite easily, and it would be to the benefit of the
    Semiticist community if it did. They want all Modern and Ancient
    Hebrew, Moabite, etc. text they have access to to be searchable with
    the same string of characters? Then they as a discipline refuse to
    issue or circulate fonts with the Phoenecian code range, to post texts
    online in Phoenecian encoding, and to accept journal articles in
    Phoenecian encoding. They are fully within their rights to do so, even
    Michael has admitted this; and I would encourage them to do just that.

    At any rate, what is being sidestepped here (or rather, acknowledged
    but dismissed) is that the notion of script identity is political (not
    just religious). Coptic could have stayed unified with Greek, and
    myself I'm still not convinced the distinction between Greek and
    Coptic in bilingual editions is not truly just a font issue. But
    disunifying Coptic was a political imperative, required by the
    appropriate scholarly body of users. Unifying the Semitic abjads is
    another political imperative by a scholarly body of users. So the
    question again becomes, not whether the scripts are historically or
    graphemically distinct, but what the body of users is that wants them
    disunified. Peter C has asked this, but Michael has already answered
    this, and (was it John Hudson?) has already questioned it: historians
    of the alphabet (but how are their presentations of abjads and
    abecedaria truly text as opposed to graphics?), palaeographers (but
    their end product is likely going to be Hebrew-encoded, given the
    discipline encompassing them --- and if they're talking about glyphs as
    opposed to text, again this is truly graphics rather than text), and
    linguistic and palaeographical paedagogy (ditto, and a usage the
    scholars would tend to regard as marginal). And the "fonts are k00l"
    crowd of enthusiasts :-) which the review of hieroglyphics has already
    mentioned; and I know we shouldn't dismiss them out of hand and all,
    but why can't they be accommodated by a font switch too?

    Sure the script could be regarded as distinct historically; it's just
    not clear how expedient it is to do so.

    Not that I'm being helpful or anything...

    P.S. If we could have Phoenecian decompose to Hebrew or vice versa, we
    wouldn't have a problem. But refusing to add further decompositions is
    yet another political imperative. :-)

    Nick Nicholas,   French/Italian/Spanish,  Dera me xhama t"e larm"e,
    Univ. Melbourne  nickn@unimelb.edu.au       Dera mbas blerimit
    http://www.opoudjis.net                     Me xhama t"e larm"e!
      In case you're wondering:                Lumtunia nuk ka ngjyra tjera.
      the poem is in Albanian.         (Martin Camaj, _Nj"e Shp'i e Vetme_)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Apr 30 2004 - 22:29:59 EDT