From: Paul James Cowie (
Date: Thu May 06 2004 - 00:44:57 CDT

I've just been reading over the discussion regarding Phoenician script
encoding that has been generated over the last few days.

As an 'expert', i.e. someone actually working with ancient languages,
can I put in a vote for Michael's proposal to encode the Phoenician
script along the lines he has indicated? (Of course, there are
undoubtedly some glitches to iron out..... That's why it's called a
'proposal'.... On the whole though, his reasoning is sound).

Somewhat echoing Deborah Anderson's contribution from a few days ago, I
am categorically against any script unification in this matter and I
believe that Phoenician script should be encoded separately from square
Hebrew script - when I have the need to encode both scripts within one
XML / XHTML document, I want to be sure that both scripts are rendered
accurately without confusion, and without having to step though a font

A few contributors to this list have argued that separate encoding is
unnecessary and shouldn't happen on the grounds that the user community
doesn't / wouldn't make use of it.... Well, I can certainly tell you
that my user / research community (i.e. Near Eastern history,
archaeology and Egyptology) remains incredibly conservative in nearly
all their practices - their current practice overall is certainly no
guide to what *should* be happening.... Some of us *are* trying to
pioneer and teach different practices - the use of XML / XHTML, the
application of Unicode instead of different fonts, for example - but it
is a slow, slow process. The encoding of Phoenician script, alongside
square Hebrew and Ugaritic alphabetic cuneiform (all used to represent
the same or similar languages, BUT completely different scripts in
history, appearance and behaviour) - would be a great boon.

Hope this helps,


Paul James Cowie
BA Hons (Sydney) GradDipEd MA (Macquarie) PhD in candidato

London, UK and Sydney, Australia

Area Supervisor, Tel Rehov Excavations, Israel
Committee Member, Friends of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

PhD Candidate, Department of Ancient History and Archaeology, Macquarie
University, Sydney, Australia

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