Re: Palaeo-Hebrew, Phoenician, and Unicode (Phoenician Unicode pr oposal)

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Wed May 26 2004 - 21:23:32 CDT

  • Next message: Dean Snyder: "Re: Phoenician, Fraktur etc"

    Mike Ayers wrote at 2:03 PM on Wednesday, May 26, 2004:

    >Dean Snyder
    >> Not a relevant argument - Spanish has more characters than English.
    > Not a relevant analogy - Spanish and English are languages, square
    >and Paleo are "scripts".

    Let me spell it out - Phoenician and Hebrew are two languages that share
    the "same" script, just as English and Spanish are two languages that
    share the "same" script. If the fact that the modern Hebrew script has
    more characters than the Phoenician script can be used to justify a
    separately encoded Phoenician, the same argument (it has more characters
    than English) can be made to separately encode Spanish. In other words,
    differences in numbers of characters does not determine separate scripts.

    >> >The opposition believes that
    >> >there is no established *need* to be able to represent/display both
    >> >modern Hebrew and palaeo-Hebrew in the same plain text document.
    >> The last point is over-stated, and leaves out any counter-arguments.
    > But it's accurate.

    It's accurate like my answer of "No" to the question "Have you stopped
    beating your wife?". It is technically accurate (because I can't have
    stopped doing something I've never done) while at the same time being
    very misleading (due to the nature of the question itself).

    >> I think all acknowledge a demonstrated desire by some to
    >> distinguish the
    >> two 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.
    > ...and you have repeatedly ignored clear evidence that the
    >complexity to which you refer is minimal.

    You call it minimal: I call it significant.

    >> >Those supporting the Phoenician encoding consider that Phoenician
    >> >has a separate script identity from modern Hebrew and requires
    >> >a separate Unicode range.
    >> Leaving out the very important issue of ANCIENT Jewish Hebrew which IS
    >> encoded in Unicode Hebrew.
    > What?
    >> At a bare minimum, Unicode Hebrew encodes both modern Israeli Hebrew
    >> script and ancient Jewish Hebrew script. One of the main issues under
    >> discussion is whether it should also encode Palaeo-Hebrew script.
    > What?
    > Are we going to have to endure a month of you yammering about
    >"ancient Jewish Hebrew" now? If you've got a point, make it, please.

    Ancient Jewish Hebrew is the "script" adopted by the Jews during and
    after the Babylonian exile. That's hundreds of years BC. It is the main
    hand used, for example, in scores of Dead Sea scroll manuscripts, called
    by more than a few scholars the single most significant archeological
    find of the 20th century. It is used for writing both Hebrew and Aramaic.
    It is the same script as medieval and modern Hebrew, though the last two
    have acquired adjunct notational systems (they have more characters in
    them). Ancient Jewish Hebrew script CANNOT be left out of this
    discussion. In fact, it is some ways the CRUX of the issue. In what
    encoding, other than the existing Unicode Hebrew encoding, would you
    recommend we encode these very important texts? No one to my knowledge is
    proposing a new encoding for (ancient) Jewish Hebrew.


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850
    cell: 717 817-4897

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