From: Peter Kirk (email@example.com)
Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 05:39:30 CDT
On 24/05/2004 10:19, Michael Everson wrote:
> At 08:41 -0700 2004-05-24, Peter Kirk wrote:
>> But if it had been defined and your small group had started to
>> publish widely with it, it would have made things more difficult for
>> those who preferred Klingon in Latin script. For example, they would
>> have to do double searches of the archives of Klingon publications
>> for the articles they wanted.
> That is your unproved assertion, and ignores the fact that your
> precious databases and archives already include multiscript
> representation of the languages you study. This insistance that your
> work will be "damaged" by the presence of Phoenician code positions is
> as untenable as it was when you first made it.
I have not ignored the fact that there are already multiple
representations. I have clearly stated that a major goal of Unicode is
to move away from such multiple representations, and that the encoding
of Phoenician should be chosen so as to facilitate that goal (if that's
the correct jargon).
>> I have listened to the three, or mostly to one of the three (and a
>> few people like you who support him but are not users) patiently and
>> repeatedly for the last month or more. All I have heard are the same
>> unconvincing arguments and appeals to his own authority.
> I see the apology is rescinded too, and it is back to ad-hominem.
The apology is not rescinded. This is not ad hominem. I have heard
unconvincing arguments from two or three people. Am I not permitted to
mention that one of those people has appealed to his own authority as an
acknowledged expert on writing systems in general? I do not question
that authority and expertise, I just ask for it to be backed up by
convincing arguments. Sorry for being repetitive, but I'm certainly not
the only one, on either side of this discussion.
>> There is no consensus that this Phoenician proposal is necessary. I
>> and others have also put forward several mediating positions e.g.
>> separate encoding with compatibility decompositions
> Which was rejected by Ken for good technical reasons.
I don't remember any technical reasons, it was more a matter of "we
haven't done it this way before". But perhaps that is only because the
need to do this has not previously been identified. However, I can make
a good case for the new Coptic letters being made compatibility
equivalent to Greek - which can still be done, presumably - as well as
for similar equivalences for scripts like Gothic and Old Italic, and
perhaps Indic scripts - which presumably cannot now be added for
>> and with interleaved collation,
> Which was rejected for the default template (and would go against the
> practices already in place in the default template) but is available
> to you in your tailorings.
Again, a matter of "we haven't done it this way before".
>> also encoding as variation sequences,
> Which was rejected by Ken and others for good technical reasons, not
> the least of which was the p%r%e%p%o%s%t%e%r%o%u%s%n%e%s%s% of
> interleaving Hebrew text in order to get Phoenician glyphs.
I don't like this one myself either. But I disagree on
*preposterousness*. You consider this preposterous because you
presuppose that these are entirely different scripts. Others consider it
preposterous *not* to interleave Phoenician and Hebrew because they
understand these to be glyph variants of the same script. For, as John
Hudson has put it so clearly, for these people Phoenician and Hebrew
letters are the same abstract characters, in different representations.
You wrote elsewhere of "A strong tradition of scholarship" which "does
not consider all of these numerous and visually-varied 22-letter Semitic
writing systems to be abstract glyph variants of a single underlying
structure". I accept that there is such a tradition. But there is also
"A strong tradition of scholarship", that of most Semiticists, which has
precisely the opposite view. We all need to recognise that there is this
genuine scholarly disagreement, and avoid emotive words like
"preposterousness", and all the more "p%r%e%p%o%s%t%e%r%o%u%s%n%e%s%s%".
And since neither side can claim a clear majority, we need to look for a
mediating position which is reasonably acceptable to both sides. Three
suggestions for this have been put forward. The main objection to two of
them seems to be that they are novel. But novel problems need novel
>> but the only response I get amounts to "No, because Phoenician is a
>> separate script, because I say so and this is the right thing to do".
> It is a pity that the facts are not obvious to you. It is clear that
> you don't want Phoenician to be a separate script, and you grasp at
> straws trying to "make" an encoded Phoenician into Hebrew.
It is clear to me that Phoenician is *not* an entirely separate script.
It seems to me that it comes somewhere between being the same script and
being a separate one. (In other words, I don't entirely accept either of
the strong traditions of scholarship.) Therefore complete separation is
inappropriate, although I don't insist on complete unification. So I am
looking for a technical solution which comes somewhere between these two
extremes, which officially recognises the one-to-one equivalence between
Phoenician and (a subset of) Hebrew while making a plain text
distinction possible for those who wish to make it.
>> I am not disregarding the needs of the three. But the three, or one
>> of them, insist that the needs of four (and probably considerably
>> more) must be disregarded, and won't even discuss mediating positions.
> The technical solutions you have proposed have been inadequate.
Can you suggest one which is more adequate? Or in fact are you
determined to reject any solution, using doubtful technical arguments
against the details because you have failed to produce convincing
arguments against the principle?
>> But of course this (alleged) person interested in Phoenician but not
>> Hebrew will not be helped if more than one encoding is permitted for
> The kind of rhetoric you use is dishonest. "Alleged"? We have had the
> owner of http://www.phoenicia.org express his support.
I'm sorry. I didn't remember the specific point. I withdraw "(alleged)".
>> And we have now seen that not all non-Semiticists want separate
>> encoding, for it is clear that the Ebionites at least do not.
> I do not come to that conclusion from the analysis of that font.
Well, it is clear at least that their work will be complicated by
separate encoding, because instead of two encodings for their texts they
will have three to consider.
On 24/05/2004 15:08, Philippe Verdy wrote:
>Yes but it is significant that Phoenician letters have letters named a bit
>differently than Hebrew letters, even when refered to by Semitists!
The names are only slightly different, perhaps indicating different
reconstructed pronunciations of the originally identically written names.
Different letter names do not imply different abstract characters. If
they did, most of the French alphabet would have to be disunified from
the English one.
>Now the fact that it is easy to tweak a Hebrew font to make it look like
>Phoenician, or to encode it with Hebrew is a technical aspect which does not
>change the fact that they are still distinct abstract characters. ...
This is not a fact. It is a position held by some scholars but rejected
On 24/05/2004 16:31, Kenneth Whistler wrote:
> ... (re MCW encoded Hebrew data)
>*Displaying* or *printing* such data then involves an interpreter
>of those conventions -- which might be as simple as an ASCII-encoded
Unfortunately it requires a lot more than that. Because of decisions
taken by the UTC in the past, conversion and display of MCW encoded text
has become much messier than it might otherwise have been. That is
Elaine's main point, I think. But I agree with Patrick D that it helps
none of us to chew over old hurts and slights.
>... the issue of
>whether the 22 basic Semitic letters can also be represented in
>a Phoenician script or not pales to the minor molehill it actually
>is, in my opinion.
Obviously a lot of people disagree with you on this one, Ken.
On 24/05/2004 20:25, Doug Ewell wrote:
>>Try with Sütterlin also unified within Latin ;-)
>That's handwriting, Patrick. Come on, you know better. I can't read my
>doctor's handwriting either, but it's unified with Latin.
Well, Phoenician and palaeo-Hebrew is all handwriting as well. There was
no printing before the 15th century, and no computers until the 20th
century. A lot of the variant glyphs which we see in ancient
inscriptions, and especially in ancient correspondence preserved on
papyri and ostraca, may well be the ancient equivalent of doctors'
-- Peter Kirk firstname.lastname@example.org (personal) email@example.com (work) http://www.qaya.org/
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