Compatibility equivalents, was: Qamats Qatan

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Sun May 16 2004 - 09:54:31 CDT

  • Next message: Patrick Andries: "Re: Compatibility equivalents, was: Qamats Qatan"

    On 15/05/2004 16:14, Patrick Andries wrote:

    > ...
    > [PA2] I suspect you are going to an answer to the effect that you are
    > not anymore forced to use Qamats Qatan in Hebrew than you are to use
    > the cedilla in English for « façade». But, while this is true, if you
    > compare a Unicode script that used to not include "ç" or a combining
    > cedilla with the new one that now includes it, this has an effect on
    > algorithms (searching, transcoding, normalisation, even fonts for
    > instance) and in this sense Unicode forces people do something about
    > it (not that it is bad to have this ripple effect).

    Well, at least "façade" and "facade" collate together at the top level,
    with the default collation weights, and so one will match the other in
    simple searches. As qamats and qamats qatan are both combining marks,
    they will certainly not be distinguished at the top level, and they
    could be specified as collated together, by default, at every level
    above the code point level. Indeed, as a new character the proposed
    qamats qatan could be specified with a compatibility decomposition to
    the regular qamats, and it seems to me that that would be a sensible
    idea. In that case the two characters would be automatically
    distinguished only at the third level.

    Similarly, I suppose, with the proposed Phoenician script: each
    character could be given a compatibility decomposition to the equivalent
    Hebrew letter. This implies automatic interleaved collation. Now, while
    I don't expect Michael Everson to jump at this suggestion, I do think
    that it should be considered as a compromise between the otherwise
    irreconcilable desires of many to unify the two scripts and of some to
    separate them.

    > If adding new scripts does not force one to use them, « Unicode
    > doesn't force people to do anything » and space is not an issue, why
    > not include new Punic and Neo-punic scripts along the proposed
    > Phoneician ? After all, I may want to show the diachronic evolution
    > of Phoenician (Semitic) words (from 1200 BC to 200 AD for instance) in
    > plain text (XML). Why unify Phoenician with Punic and Neo-Punic ? No
    > one will be forced to use Punic and Neo-Punic after all. Surely there
    > must be a reason why you proposed a unification (and it may make
    > perfect sense). Is it only for genealogical reasons or because the non
    > consulted community of Punic users (which probably is any case too
    > conservative in the eyes of some) did request unification ?

    Again, if the separate Punic script were to be compatibility equivalent
    to Phoenician or Hebrew I would not have strong objections; but
    otherwise I am sure that there would be strong objections on the grounds
    that yet further splitting of what is logically the same script used for
    closely related languages leads to even more confusion.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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