Re: New contribution

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sun May 02 2004 - 22:17:29 CDT

At 22:54 -0400 2004-05-02, John Cowan wrote:

>Greek doesn't derive from Square Hebrew, and I never claimed it did.
>Greek does derive from some variant of the 22CWSA, posssibly (but not
>provably) the ones used to write the Phoenician language.

Scholarship seems to have proved it, whether or not you believe it.
It follows therefore (though not if you don't believe it, I suppose)
that unifying Square Hebrew (which we have encoded in Unicode) with
the historical set of Phoenician scripts is an overunification.

> > The native users of the Phoenician-based Palaeo-Hebrew and the later
> > Aramaic-based Jewish/Square Hebrew scripts considered them to be
> > completely different scripts, so much so that one is considered
> > appropriate for printing sacred texts and the other one is not.
>And Torah scrolls have to be handwritten (with no marks except the puncta
>extraordinaria) too. That doesn't make Square handwriting a separate

I didn't say it was one. There is a large and well-defined set of
Hebrew font variants which all educated readers of Hebrew recognize,
and can read with relatively little trouble.

The Phoenician scripts have completely different glyphs, are not
recognized as anything like legible Hebrew.

Even the native users of the scripts distinguished them as different
entities. But apparently you know better than the Tanaim, John?

> > Any number of Brahmic scripts have been encoded, and not just because
>> here or there they show some "structural" uniqueness. Brahmi is a
>> true subset of Devanagari. And Bengali. And Myanmar.
>I'm not addressing Brahmi today.

No, but in refusing to do so you are ignoring a true analogy. Brahmi
is to Devanagari and Bengali as Phoenician is to Greek and Hebrew.

>Structurally, Syriac is separate because of its shaping behavior.
>I believe Samaritan should not be separately encoded either, though
>since it is a current-use script I concede that there may be a need
>for this.

I think you have a very narrow view of "Universal Character Set" and
this bodes ill for the encoding of historic scripts in general. Your
stance would lead us to the happy world of ASCII font hacks that
Unicode is supposed to cure. And your view that it's acceptable to
take pointed and cantillated Hebrew text and display it with BOXES
when displaying it with Phoenician glyphs is quite astonishing.

Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri May 07 2004 - 18:45:25 CDT