Re: Classification; Phoenician

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 11:59:35 CDT

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    Christopher Fynn wrote:

    >> *All* classification is arbitrary.

    > If script classification is arbitrary or nominal, isn't there is still a
    > case for attempting some consistency or following a single model within
    > a particular standard like the UCS?

    Indeed there is. If a single, one-size-fits-all model can't be described, at least a
    series of guidelines could be, i.e. guidelines formalised by the UTC not simply endorsed
    by one person who happens to have proposed a lot of stuff to be encoded. I have a huge
    amount of respect for Michael and his achievements, but I think something other than his
    opinion and endorsement is necessary to formally clarify the grounds for encoding or not
    encoding contentious writing systems. The absence of such guidelines promotes the kind of
    circular debate we've seen over Phoenician. Appeals to precedence should be considered,
    but I don't think they are convincing in themselves because everyone knows that precedence
    also involved an absence of specific guidelines and decisions that, arguably, could or
    should have been different. As noted previously, guidelines are more important for dealing
    with historical scripts than for living ones, since more contentious questions tend to be
    raised by such writing systems.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Typespaces, by Peter Burnhill
    White Mughals, by William Dalrymple
    Hebrew manuscripts of the Middle Ages, by Colette Sirat

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