Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: Patrick Durusau (
Date: Sat May 22 2004 - 18:17:54 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?"


    A longer response on related issues, probably by tomorrow but for now:

    Peter Kirk wrote:
    > On 22/05/2004 14:04, James Kass wrote:
    >> ...
    >>> Well, we are now being assured that people who want to encode
    >>> Phoenician, palaeo-Hebrew etc as Unicode Hebrew will be quite free to
    >>> do so indefinitely even if Phoenician is encoded.
    >> There is no such assurance. The actual assurance is more like
    >> 'people who wish to transliterate ancient scripts into modern ones
    >> are perfectly free to do so'. Indeed, how could it be otherwise?
    > As I understand it, what at least a number of Semitic scholars want to
    > do is not to transliterate, but to represent Phoenician texts with
    > Phoenician letters with the Unicode Hebrew characters, and fonts with
    > Phoenician glyphs at the Hebrew character code points. In other words,
    > to treat the difference between Hebrew and Phoenician as a font change,
    > like the difference between Fraktur and normal Latin script. Will they
    > be allowed to do that after a Phoenician block is defined, or will they
    > not? If the answer is that they will not, this justifies the objection
    > that a new Phoenician block interferes with the work of the real experts
    > in the field, in order to meet the not very clearly defined requirements
    > of a few non-experts.

    Can you answer the question: "On what basis do you think "a number of
    Semitic scholars" will not be able to continue their current practices
    if the Phoenician proposal is accepted?"

    I have yet to hear any suggestion that they cannot continue their
    current practices. As far as I am aware, there are no Unicode police
    patroling the web or elsewhere.

    And current practice includes, by the way, not solely to represent
    Phoenician with Unicode Hebrew characters, but to also represent it in
    Western transliteration. (Actually both are arguably transliteration but
    leaving that aside for the moment.)

    The mixed corpus problem is a chimera and really irrelevant to the issue
    at hand. I would expect any reasonable project to pick a single solution
    and stick with it. Can use Unicode or transliteration but would be
    advised to convert to all of one to the other.

    There are problems currently with using a single solution but that is in
    part a delivery problem and not something Unicode per se can address.

    Hope you are having a great day!

    Patrick Durusau
    Director of Research and Development
    Society of Biblical Literature
    Chair, V1 - Text Processing: Office and Publishing Systems Interface
    Co-Editor, ISO 13250, Topic Maps -- Reference Model
    Topic Maps: Human, not artificial, intelligence at work!

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