Re: New contribution

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 08:47:44 CDT

At 09:21 -0400 2004-05-03, Patrick Andries wrote:

>>And REJECTED them as being a different script.
>What does this mean ? How do you know how they
>felt ? Any differently from the Germans that
>rejected Suetterlin as different script, etc. ?

It means that they saw the script, knew it to be
different from the one they were using, and
specifically rejected its use.

I really don't know now to compress years of
study on writing systems to a couple of words
that you people can accept. Most of my arguments
have been ignored anyway, or pooh-poohed because
I'm apparently not expert enough to know how to
unify or disunify scripts. Of course, there was
N2311, published in 2001. Apart from some worries
about what Late Aramaic might be and whether it
is encodable it seemed to me (and Rick and Ken at
least) that the taxonomy of unification we made
was the best one, and that we should proceed.
This we have done.

>While I'm rather for the Phoenician proposal, I
>believe one has to stress structural
>differences and objective arguments rather than
>simply repeating it's a different script .

Good gods, Patrick, I have been doing this, and
so have others like Ken and Rick and James.
Square Hebrew has accrued to it an enormous
typographical complexity, none of which applies
to the scripts we propose to unify under
Phoenician. It is false to suggest that
fully-pointed Hebrew text can be rendered in
Phoenician script and that this is perfectly
acceptable to any Hebrew reader (as would be the
case for ordinary font change).

I have referred to Latin font hacks as well as
Hebrew ones. That one got ignored, of course,
because it shows the Hebrew font-hack argument to
be flimsy.

And frankly, I don't consider that Snyder or Kirk
or Cowan speak for the Semiticist community as
they would have us think.

Square Hebrew as encoded in the Unicode Standard
is a beast unto itself. John Cowan's wish for a
generic 22-letter West Semitic Abjad may be all
very well and good, but Hebrew is much more than
that, and it is not sensible to pretend that it

I could quote Ada Yardeni (Book of Hebrew Script,
British Library/Oak Knoll 1997) or Naveh, or
Faulmann, or Taylor, or any one of the dozens of
books on writing systems which we've used to get
to where we are. I'm not at home right now,
though, and all I could really do is say, go,
study, learn what I have. I have been writing on
this topic for three days now, and I have said
more than repeating "it's a different script".

It's a different script, though.

Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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