Re: Phoenician, Fraktur etc

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 17:16:24 CDT

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

    On 27/05/2004 09:54, Michael Everson wrote:

    > I am resigning my membership of the list until
    > further notice.

    Part of my earlier reply to Michael:

    > Come on, Michael, fight this one out to the end like a man! You might
    > yet win.
    > Or accept a mediating position. Edit your proposal a little, at least
    > to throw out "Proto-Sinaitic/Proto-Canaanite", and accept interleaved
    > collation, and we can agree. Well, Ken, you and I can agree, I'm not
    > sure about Dean. Then we can move on to other more important subjects.

    Michael replied, among other things which I cannot repeat here, that he
    had already edited out "Proto-Sinaitic/Proto-Canaanite". He had indeed
    agreed to do so, but I have yet to see the edited version. Has anyone
    else seen it?

    On 27/05/2004 10:04, Peter Constable wrote:

    >>Peter Kirk wrote:
    >>>Well, what are these technical issues?
    >That question has been answered. So far, the responses to the answers
    >provided haven't been exactly deafening. Does nobody in the
    >pro-unification camp have any response? Is nobody willing to give
    >acknowledgement to the problems presented?
    I am not part of any camp. But I have myself replied to all the issues
    which I have seen. Some of my incoming mail was delayed because of
    problems on my server. Some of my postings have been delayed, perhaps
    for moderation. Give me a few hours to reply, Peter!

    On 27/05/2004 10:59, Mike Ayers wrote:

    > ...
    > > We should not be fighting our corners, but instead looking
    > > for a solution which is acceptable to all parties.
    > I must respectfully disagre here. While your proposition
    > cannot be faulted for ideals, it has been historically demonstrated as
    > unviable (and here I refer to human history more than Unicode
    > history). What we really need is the solution which best serves all
    > parties. If one or more (or heck, even all) of the parties are
    > dissatisfied with the solution, but the solution fully enables their
    > needs (or wants), then it is a good solution. Dissatisfaction fades,
    > but useless is forever.

    Mike, I agree with you, more or less. By "acceptable to all parties", I
    don't mean in the shallow way that a lollipop is acceptable to a child
    throwing a tantrum for one. But nor do I mean one imposed on all parties
    by others who patronisingly think they know what is best for the
    parties. Yes, the solution should be one which really best serves all
    parties, but the parties do also need to be convinced that this is true.
    And until all parties are prepared to be convinced of something other
    than their initial position, there is no chance of finding an acceptable
    solution. For one thing, in any dispute between A and B, B will never be
    convinced that A's opening position is an acceptable solution, and so A
    needs to at least make the appearance of shifting their position. At
    least that way there is a balance of loss of face. Human history, e.g.
    of negotiations between formerly warring countries, demonstrates this as

    On 27/05/2004 12:28, Peter Constable wrote:

    > ...
    >To make discussion easier, let me speak in terms of an analogy,
    >referring to the nodes as integers and the points in between as real
    >numbers. If someone could show documents written within a single
    >community in a reasonably concurrent time frame (i.e. they're
    >communicating with one another) that mixed several rational values from
    >the entire range between 0 and 1, then I'd say the nodes 0 and 1 were
    >nothing more than an artifact of our classification. But if one can only
    >point to cases of (say) documents from a given community containing 0
    >and .6, or 0 and .9, then it would seem that the nodes had some
    >conceptual validity within that community. IIRC, we have been given
    >indication of the latter, but I'm not sure we've been given indication
    >of the former.
    Well, we have I think all seen charts of the development of the Semitic
    alphabet, with a variety of letter shapes showing a steady transition
    between Phoenician, square Hebrew and other forms. I have just uploaded
    one such chart to
    These clearly show that there is no clear division between separate
    scripts, but rather a continuum. Of course full texts rather than
    alphabet charts would be more convincing evidence, but it would require
    some research to find them.

    And yes, this is a diachronic chart, i.e. people were not writing all of
    this range of glyphs at the same time. But they wrote them all over a
    relatively short period (if you ignore the more modern forms in the
    chart). But then if you look at only one point in time, Fraktur and
    Latin look quite different with no intermediate forms, but when you look
    at their history you realise that they are part of the same continuum
    and so not separate scripts.

    On 27/05/2004 12:31, E. Keown wrote:

    > ...
    >Peter Kirk wrote:
    >>No, this doesn't go far enough, even for me so
    >>almost certainly not for others. This is accepting
    >>the splitters' case and throwing in a
    >>footnote in the hope of satisfying the joiners. I
    >>would think that the least that would be acceptable
    >>is default interleaved collation.
    >Dear Peter K.--may I have this in simpler, longer
    >English?--I can't follow you at all...lost in first

    Sorry, Elaine. My point was that Ken's suggestion amounted to the
    following: Accept the Phoenician proposal in its entirety, and add a
    footnote somewhere in an attempt to keep happy those of us who want to
    unify Hebrew and Phoenician. That is not enough to be acceptable, at
    least to me. I suggested that the minimum acceptable would be to define
    each Phoenician letter as equivalent, at the top level, to the
    corresponding Hebrew letter in the default table of collation weights.
    This implies that a simple search for some text will match (by default,
    i.e. without setting up custom collation tables) regardless of whether
    the text is encoded as Hebrew or Palaeo-Hebrew/Phoenician. But it also
    allows a more specific search for one script rather than the other, by
    requiring a closer level 2 match. That should satisfy most of the
    requirements of both sides, although I accept that it is slightly messy
    for those who have to maintain the default table.

    >Chris Fynn wrote:
    >>If you ask Ken & the UTC nicely I should think >a
    >"linguistic relationship" between each letter and >the
    >corresponding Hebrew letter might be indicated in >the
    >name list immediately following the code
    >>chart (as is done with 0F9D -> 094D). The
    >>relationship between the letters of the two scripts
    >>could probably also be explicitly stated in
    >>the block intro for this script (and maybe in the
    >>block intro for Hebrew as well). If the one to one
    >>correspondence is explicitly stated in
    >>the block intro this is a lot more than "throwing in
    >a footnote".
    >Dear Christopher Fynn:
    >I didn't get this either, beyond one-to-one
    >correspondence (father was mathematician, used such
    >words). Simpler, longer version appreciated.
    >Thanks, Elaine
    Christopher's proposal is for notes in the code charts for each
    Phoenician letter linking it to the corresponding Hebrew letter, and
    perhaps vice versa. This is a lot better than nothing, but still not
    enough to be acceptable to me as it does not provide an automatic
    mechanism for nullifying the script distinction. Such an automatic
    mechanism would be provided by compatibility equivalence or by
    interleaved collation.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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