RE: PH technical issues (was RE: Why Fraktur is irrelevant

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Thu May 27 2004 - 19:44:15 CDT

  • Next message: D. Starner: "RE: PH technical issues (was RE: Why Fraktur is irrelevant"

    > From: D. Starner []
    > Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 5:16 PM

    [David replied to me off-list, but as there's nothing particularly
    private or controversial, I'm taking the liberty to respond on list, as
    it seems relevant for the thread.]

    > I find [PC's Sally/Latisha usage scenario] a bit unreasonable for
    several reasons.

    It may well not be reasonable, or reasonable but not a scenario we
    decide to give much weight to. I just threw it out as one of many
    possible scenarios, and specifically picking something are
    representative of a kind of scenario the original proposer might have
    had in mind that is unrelated to paleography.

    > * A comparable discussion could appear involving Fraktur and Latin
    > and Chao and Chang.

    I agree, but only somewhat. I think those situations are probably not as
    representative of the casual-, non-specialist-user scenario, and that in
    that case Sally and Latisha are probably more likely to be paying close
    attention to the fonts being used. Even for the non-specialist
    situation, in a Fraktur/Antigua case (the Chao vs Chang is definitely
    out at least for *non-Asian* non-specialists), Sally is telling Latisha,
    "Make sure it shows up with those dark, old-English-looking characters",
    and if it's Times or Helvetica Latisha will probably know it's wrong. In
    the Phoenician case, if anything Sally's probably saying, "This will
    show up looking like pretty unfamiliar letters -- like maybe a sideways
    A or something" and Latisha might well see square Hebrew and think it
    fits the description.

    > * Sally probably won't have a Phoenician font, so this fails
    > no matter what Unicode decides.

    Well, if Phoenician is to be encoded in the 05xx block, you're right. If
    it's encoded separately and platform or word-processor vendors bundle
    fonts that provide coverage for various ranges of Unicode, then she very
    well may have a Phoenician font. I don't think we can make your blanket
    statement here with confidence.

    > * Phoenician is an illustration more than text in this instance; if
    > used a picture here, everything would have worked.

    True, but it takes more work to prepare a graphic than text, and it's
    not at all unreasonable to expect Sally would do the latter if she could
    have a reasonable expectation that it might work. If her software is
    likely the same as Latisha's and it comes with a Phoenician font, she
    can reasonably expect it to work. Of course, if the characters are
    unified, the software probably *didn't* come with a font... So, I guess
    this one comes out as indecisive.

    > * If they did use a Phoencian font, they could still be surprised
    > when they discover the school's computers don't have a Phoenician font

    Certainly true; but that is an independent cause that could just as well
    be used to argue for not encoding any new script. You might as well say
    because the school's computer didn't have Arabic fonts there was no
    reason to encode Arabic. So, I think it's not a relevant

    Peter Constable
    Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
    Microsoft Windows Division

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