Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu May 20 2004 - 09:18:40 CDT

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    On 19/05/2004 20:54, John Hudson wrote:

    > Ernest Cline wrote:
    >> I would be very surprised if there were such a cybercafe. One
    >> that had both a Hebrew-Phoenican and a Hebrew-Hebrew font
    >> with the Hebrew-Phoenician as the default would be much easier
    >> to believe as a possibility. Still, it is a valid point. I think
    >> that if
    >> Phoenician were to be unified with Hebrew, it would probably
    >> behoove Unicode to establish variation sequences for Phoenician.
    >> Even with a separate Phoenician script, it might be a good idea
    >> to provide variation sequences that could be used to identify
    >> different script styles such as Paleo-Hebrew and Punic
    >> in the plain text.
    > This is not a practical use of variation sequences if, by this, you
    > mean use of variation selectors. What are you going to do, add a
    > variation selector after every single base character in the text? ...

    Well, this won't make the text any longer in UTF-16.

    > ... Are you expecting fonts to support the tiny stylistic variations
    > between Phoenician, Moabite, Palaeo-Hebrew, etc. -- variations that
    > are not even cleanly defined by language usage -- with such sequences?

    No one has suggested this. It does make some sense to encode the
    difference between Phoenician and Hebrew in this way, and possibly also
    other clearly definable distinctions. Presumably a line has to be drawn
    somewhere, but the whole concept cannot be rejected just because it
    could be taken to ridiculous extremes. Actually exactly the same
    argument could be made against Everson's proposal for Phoenician, that
    it opens the way to separate proposals for Moabite, Palaeo-Hebrew etc.
    But I am not making that argument because Everson has clearly stated
    that he does not intend to make these distinctions.

    > Some people seem keen on variation selectors in the same way that
    > others are keen on PUA: as a catch-all solution to non-existent problems.

    The solution may be a catch-all, but the problem is a real one. Dr
    Kaufman's response makes it clear that to professionals in the field
    Everson's proposal is not just questionable but ridiculous. There is
    certainly some PR work to be done in this area, not name-calling.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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