Re: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Tue Jun 01 2004 - 18:46:00 CDT

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    Ted Hopp responded:

    > On Tuesday, May 25, 2004 5:23 AM, Michael Everson wrote:
    > > >At what point is it more practical to say 'use a graphic'?
    > >
    > > When they are just pictures of things. Not when they are coherent
    > > sets of things with structure, used by people for well over a century
    > > to typeset information about an important and widespread realm of
    > > human activity.
    > Couldn't the same be said of dance notation (labanotation, Benesh, etc.),
    > which is explicitly out of scope for Unicode?

    I think the quibble factor sets in here in determining what "typeset"
    means in this case.

    We still need a determination of what portions of printed material
    constitute graphics and what constitute text. Usually, "typesetters"
    are talking about the latter. But I rather doubt that labanotation
    would fit the normal definition of textual typesetting, any more
    than musical scoring would.

    > It seems to me that you are
    > proposing to encode another graphology. The dominoes, chess pieces, and
    > playing cards of your proposal are not alphabetic, ideographic,


    > or symbolic;

    Not stipulated. This is precisely what is at issue. They clearly
    are symbolic in some general semiotic sense. Whether they are
    symbolic *text* elements is what is relevant to the character
    encoding question.

    > they are not linguistic.

    Stipulated. But then, neither are OCR symbols or keyboard symbols
    or electrotechnical symbols or box drawing symbols or many
    other entities which made it into the standard.

    > They are pictorial.

    Yes, but that does not preclude them from being candidates
    for being textual symbols as well. Many dingbats are also
    pictorial, and a certain number of CJK (or other) ideographs
    are also in origin pictographs -- and in their earliest
    forms are also clearly pictorial. That is not a disqualifying

    The key issue for symbols like the dominoes is not whether
    they derive from pictorial representations of the game
    tokens themselves (i.e., as pictures of the bones), but
    rather whether there is a sufficiently established practice
    of using such pictorial symbols effectively inline as
    part of text, as opposed to merely in obvious graphics
    showing entire 2-D layouts of domino positions. My own take
    is that for some subset of the domino symbols proposed, the
    evidence from the dominoes texts does pass that test.


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