Re: New contribution

From: John Cowan (
Date: Sun May 02 2004 - 23:47:59 CDT

Michael Everson scripsit:

> Scholarship seems to have proved it, whether or not you believe it.

Well, we have heard about part of the dispute.

> 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.

I don't see how it follows at all. Because Greek derives from Phoenician,
unifying Square Hebrew with Phoenician is unjustifiable? How's that?
The undistributed (or rather nonexistent) middle term is glaring.

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


> 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.

Well, it would be embarrassing to say just which Indic script would be
best unified with Brahmi, which *may* be an argument for not unifying it.
But Greek doesn't belong in this comparison: it *would* be absurd to
unify an alphabet with an abjad, with or without vowel points.

> 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.

That was never my view. You asked me what I thought would be likely
to happen in such a case: I replied, in effect: ideally, the marks
would disappear (become zero-width glyphs); more likely, they would
appear as boxes. That's a claim about what would probably happen,
not what should happen. I would make a similar claim if you asked
me what would happen if LATIN CAPITAL LETTER Q were followed by dagesh.

John Cowan
I must confess that I have very little notion of what [s. 4 of the British
Trade Marks Act, 1938] is intended to convey, and particularly the sentence
of 253 words, as I make them, which constitutes sub-section 1.  I doubt if
the entire statute book could be successfully searched for a sentence of
equal length which is of more fuliginous obscurity. --MacKinnon LJ, 1940

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