From: Michael Everson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 15:54:19 CDT
There are a number of reasons why things are on
the Roadmap. Things that are on the Roadmap,
while not "guaranteed" encoding, are there based
on the expert opinion of the Roadmap Committee
(Ken, Rick, Michael), and are based on a
long-standing *assumption* that the scholarly
taxonomy of the world's writing systems has been,
is, and will be the practice of the Unicode
Consortium and WG2 for determining which of the
world's writing systems *should* be encoded. This
is not explicit, written policy. It is the
existing practice of the architects of the
Unicode Standard. It is my view that this
practice is unlikely to change, and that if an
explicit, written policy were to be introduced
into the working procedures, it would be based on
the scholarly taxonomy of the world's writing
There are a number of reasons why things are on the Roadmap.
One is current use by living communities.
One is current use by specialists.
One is current use by non-specialists enthusiasts and generalists.
One is the traditional separation of writing
continua into nodes of the tree of the world's
One is simple recognizability and legibility; it
is this that *informs* the traditional analysis
by scholars of writing systems described above.
Normally a script has an aggregate of these reasons.
A number of people have been trying to twist
arguments in order to "invalidate" them and to
trick us into saying that black is white. Peter
Kirk and Dean Snyder in particular are grasping
at straws trying to chip away at the mass of
evidence that put things on the Roadmap in the
first place. It is an exercise in futility on
What Patrick Durusau said is perfectly correct:
>Semitic scholars reached the conclusion all
>Semitic languages share the same 22 characters.
>A long standing and quite useful conclusion that
>has nothing at all to do with your proposal
>[which] has NOTHING to do with how any Semitic
>language is represented in any script other than
>What has happened is that conclusion has been brought into a Unicode
>discussion that does not share that viewpoint
>and in fact has its own criteria for encoding of
In my view, the argument that Phoenician is to
Hebrew as Fraktur is to Latin is ignorant, rather
*embarrassingly* ignorant, of the historical
relationships both of the development of the
Semitic scripts on the one hand, and of the Latin
script and the typographic and manuscript
relationship of between Roman and Fraktur (and
indeed Gaelic) on the other. Snyder's example
"proving" that his mother couldn't read Fraktur
in ALL CAPS only shows that he doesn't know what
he is talking about. Goethe and Schiller couldn't
have read that text with any ease either.
Arguments about Sütterlin are likewise ignorant.
The "legibility argument" is one of the things
that scholars of writing systems for the past two
centuries have used to classify the world's
writing systems. As an heir to the legacy of
their work, I use it to help to encode scripts in
the Universal Character Set, for everyone in the
Arguments about Klingon have been equally vapid, should that need to be stated.
We have spent a month on this issue. Snyder and
Kirk have not produced either technical or
political arguments which suggest that the
unified Phoenician script should be unified with
the Square Hebrew which has been encoded already.
As Peter Constable has pointed out, Dean Snyder
has already yielded the argument:
>I think all acknowledge a demonstrated desire by
>some to distinguish the two [PH and square
>Hebrew] in plain text, but I and others have
>suggested that that desire should be weighed
>against the added complexity for text processing
>that a new encoding will introduce.
We have heard your arguments. We have weighed
them. Unification has lost. I believe that it is
a foregone conclusion that Phoenician will be
sent for ballot, though of course the UTC and WG2
could decide otherwise.
As far as I'm concerned, that's about the end of the discussion.
-- Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
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