Re: Palaeo-Hebrew, Phoenician, and Unicode (Phoenician Unicode proposal)

From: Dean Snyder (
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 02:43:04 CDT

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: Phoenician, Fraktur etc"

    Kenneth Whistler wrote at 2:11 PM on Wednesday, May 26, 2004:

    >The Spanish *alphabet* has more *letters* than the English *alphabet*.
    >But the Unicode Standard does not encode alphabets of the same
    >script distinctly -- it encodes scripts distinctly.

    A surfeit of characters doth not a new encoding justify. (See my response
    in another email yesterday.)

    >If you think that Jame's Kass characterization of your position
    >was over-stated, I would conclude that either you:
    > A. Do *not* believe that there is no established *need*..., or
    > B. Believe that there *is* an established *need* ...

    A. I do not believe there is an established NEED for the distinction in
    plain text; I do believe there is an established DESIRE for, and
    willingness to make use of, such a distinction in plain text.

    >If A, then you don't have a position, and should back off the

    I don't see why.

    >If B, then you should be supporting James' and Michael's
    >position for encoding Phoenician as a distinct script.
    >Your clarification amounts to an assertion that a "desire by some"
    >does not amount to a "need" to encode in plain text.

    Precisely my position; I can't believe you would not assert the same.

    If I follow you correctly you seem to be saying that the desire by some
    to encode a script amounts to a need to do so; and if that need to encode
    is established (and it is if some people desire it), then one should
    support such an encoding.

    If you really do follow such logic then I can predict the following chain
    of events:

    1) Dean Snyder and company desire to encode Archaic Greek.
    2) Therefore Dean Snyder and company have a need to encode Archaic Greek.
    3) Therefore you will support Dean Snyder's proposal for Archaic Greek. ;-)

    I should be so lucky.

    >It's like
    >Daddy responding to the kid who says, "I need a lollipop!",
    >"No, you don't *need* a lollipop, you just *want* a lollipop."
    >And then following up with, "Lollipops are expensive. Those of
    >us who don't need lollipops don't want to have to pay for your
    >lollipop, so you can't have one."

    Or perhaps more realistically ... Daddy says lovingly, "Well, sweetie
    pie, you've already had three lollipops in the last hour and you're
    acting a little hyper, plus I can tell you're not feeling quite well. So
    let's not eat another one just now. OK? Instead, how about chewing on
    some of that really good kosher beef jerky you've already got in your
    pocket. It's much better for you."

    >Character encoders recognize that there are often tradeoffs in the difficulty
    >of implementing certain kinds of text processes, depending on
    >character encoding decisions taken. But I'm not seeing here
    >a serious assessment of the tradeoffs in this case or a countering
    >of the arguments presented by

    I can say the same thing for

    >the pro-Phoenician camp

    Interesting choice of words, that "pro-Phoenician camp" thing.

    I guess I, and others, who love Phoenician and have studied it over the
    years, but are against this proposal, are the "anti-Phoenician" camp?
    Nice twist.

    >that the
    >asserted difficulties are not actually all that difficult.
    >Instead, I see repeated assertions that those who *want* to
    >encode Phoenician as a script haven't demonstrated a *need* to
    >encode Phoenician.
    >If you cannot convince the "wanters" that they don't actually
    >"need" what they "want", then they will simply continue to
    >assert that they do "need" what they "want" and will continue
    >to throw tantrums when Daddy tells them they can't have a lollipop.

    What's the point? Daddy should just give in because the kids are throwing

    Ken's remaining remarks are on a different tack and I plan to address
    them in another email.


    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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