Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: John Hudson (
Date: Fri May 21 2004 - 14:01:05 CDT

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    Ted Hopp wrote:

    > I don't think this expectation is unreasonable,
    > given their perception of the standard, and perhaps Unicode needs to do a
    > better job in conveying what the standard is and does and how it can be used.

    > With all due respect, this is disingenuous.

    It was intended to be helpful.

    > It's like saying that building a
    > highway does not, per se, imply much of anything about how housing
    > development will take place. Perhaps true in a strictly literal sense, but
    > laughable in the real world.

    It is not remotely like saying that.

    > What are users supposed to do? Ignore the Unicode support implemented in
    > commercial software and develop their own encoding tools? Ignore Unicode and
    > develop an interchange standard that meets their needs? Unicode decisions
    > have far-reaching consequences. Don't minimize the responsibilities that
    > come with power.

    Let me rephrase the point as a question:

      What in the encoding of 'Phoenician' characters in Unicode
      obliges anyone to use those characters for ancient Canaanite

    I think it is you who is being disingenuous, because I never suggested that users should
    ignore Unicode altogether or that they should develop their own standard, or any of the
    other things you suggest follow in some way from my observation that there is no reason
    why semiticists should not ignore the Phoenician block. What aspect of 'Unicode support
    implemented in commercial software' would semiticists and other users have to ignore in
    order e.g. to encode Palaeo-Hebrew texts using the Hebrew block? None.

    I happen to think that the Phoenician encoding is unnecessary, but the sky isn't going to
    fall if it gets accepted. There are lots of unnecessary things in Unicode -- the entire
    Arabic ligature set for example -- that intelligent people simply don't use. Now, it
    happens that there are apparently some people who claim to have a plain-text *need* to
    distinguish Phoenician from Hebrew, i.e. someone disagrees that it is unnecessary. As far
    as I'm concerned, this is the only basis on which the Michael's proposal should be
    accepted or rejected, which means that those who oppose the encoding would better spend
    their time querying that need directly to the people who have expressed it than making
    silly, repetetive arguments about fraktur on this list.

    John Hudson

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