Re: New contribution

From: Mark Davis (
Date: Mon May 03 2004 - 22:22:16 CDT

- There is a cost to deunification. To take an extreme case, suppose that we
deunified Rustics, Roman Uncials, Irish Half-Uncial, Carolingian Minuscule,
Textura, Fraktur, Humanist, Chancery (Italic), and English Roundhand. All often
very different shapes. Searching/processing Latin text would be a nightmare.

- There is also a cost to unification. To take an extreme case, suppose we
unified Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew (after all, they have a
common ancester). Again, nightmare.

So there is always a balance that we have to strike, looking at each situation
carefully and assessing a number of different factors.

. I want to be clear; I was not in principle against encoding Phoenician, nor
was I in principle in favor of encoding it -- the proposal simply did not set
out the pros and cons of different approaches. While tedious in the extreme, the
resulting conversation still has shed some needed light on the situation. After
all, it *is* unifying as it says "Proto-Sinaitic/Proto-Canaanite, Punic,
Neo-Punic, Phoenician proper, Late Phoenician cursive, Phoenician papyrus,
Siloam Hebrew, Hebrew seals, Ammonite, Moabite, Palaeo-Hebrew", but not unifying
these with modern Hebrew (and I'm not sure where the cut-off point in the
history of Hebrew is). Making such choices require explanation.
► शिष्यादिच्छेत्पराजयम् ◄

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <John Hudson <>>
Cc: "Mark Davis" <>; <>
Sent: Mon, 2004 May 03 14:55
Subject: Re: New contribution

> John Hudson wrote,
> > Mark Davis wrote:
> >
> > > The question for me is whether the scholarly representations of the
> > > would vary enough that in order to represent the palæo-Hebrew (or the
> > > language/period variants), one would need to have font difference anyway.
If so,
> > > then it doesn't buy much to encode separately from Hebrew. If not, then it
> > > be reasonable to separate them.
> >
> > Given the sophistication of today's font technology, I don't think the
encoding question
> > can be addressed in this way. Regardless of whether 'Phoenician' letterforms
> > separately encoded, it is perfectly easy to include glyphs for these and for
> > Hebrew square script (or any of a number of other different Hebrew script
styles) in a
> > single font. If the 'Phoenician' forms are not separately encoded, they can
still be
> > accessed as glyph variants using a variety of different mechanisms. The
question is
> > whether the distinction is necessary in plain text.
> >
> And, that's a succinct question. Could that question be answered
> without expressing opinion?
> Here's a question which isn't so succinct.
> In the event of a major schism within an encoding society, where
> two sides hold divergent opinions and there is a huge chasm separating
> the factions, and no consensus appears to be possible because each side
> holds those cherished opinions tightly, and doing things the way that
> one faction wants things done would prevent the other side from
> doing things the way that they want to do them, but doing things
> the way the other side wants things done would allow the opposition
> to do things as they desire, what would the optimal course of action
> be?
> Best regards,
> James Kass

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