From: Ted Hopp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 14:24:35 CDT
On Friday, May 21, 2004 3:01 PM, John Hudson wrote:
> Let me rephrase the point as a question:
> What in the encoding of 'Phoenician' characters in Unicode
> obliges anyone to use those characters for ancient Canaanite
An analogous statement can be made of any script in Unicode. We can all
continue to use code pages or the myriad Hebrew fonts that put the glyphs at
Latin-0 code points. If the proposed Phoenician block can be so easily
ignored in encoding ancient Canaanite texts, then is the block really
Frankly, though, all statements to the effect of "well, they have no
complaint because they can just ignore the Phoenician block and continue to
do whatever they've been doing" sound less than sincere when they come from
Unicode boosters. (You aren't the only one who has put this argument forth.)
In your 5/20 message, you say:
> There is no reason at all why Semiticists cannot simply totally ignore the
> proposed Phoenician block.
But then you say:
> I think it is you who is being disingenuous, because I never suggested
> that users should ignore Unicode altogether or that they should develop
> their own standard, or any of the other things you suggest follow in some
> way from my observation that there is no reason why semiticists should not
> ignore the Phoenician block.
What was insincere about my posting? Forgive me, but it seemed to me that
when you claim that Semiticists will be able to ignore the Phoenician block,
there is an implication that they will use something else. I never said that
they would have to ignore Unicode altogether, but they will have to develop
their own standards (agreements, if you prefer) for what that "something
else" will be.
> What aspect of 'Unicode support implemented
> in commercial software' would semiticists and other users have to ignore
> in order e.g. to encode Palaeo-Hebrew texts using the Hebrew block? None.
This frames the discussion in a way that ignores the coercive power of
Unicode in the marketplace.
One could, with only a little imagination, foresee that there will be
software packages that will only display Palaeo-Hebrew fonts for text
encoded in the 'Phoenician' block; that will not match texts that need to
match; etc. Semiticists would have to ignore all the (future) software
capabilities available to them if only they would cave in and start using
the Phoenician block.
Moreover, if anyone wanted to use Phoenician in some future http protocol,
Unicode conformance is required (at least so says the standard).
> I happen to think that the Phoenician encoding is unnecessary, but the sky
> isn't going to fall if it gets accepted....
I agree with this.
> ...Now, it
> happens that there are apparently some people who claim to have a
> plain-text *need* to distinguish Phoenician from Hebrew, i.e. someone
> disagrees that it is unnecessary. As far as I'm concerned, this is the
> only basis on which the Michael's proposal should be accepted or rejected,
> which means that those who oppose the encoding would better spend
> their time querying that need directly to the people who have expressed it
> than making silly, repetetive arguments about fraktur on this list.
It would be nice to know who they were. I did ask for an elaboration of the
need in an earlier posting. The only person I know who has stated a direct
need is Bob Richmond, and that was from the position of a software developer
serving a user base that seems to have no use for Hebrew.
More recently, Peter Constable, on 5/26, posted a series of technical
arguments in favor of a separate script. They made quite a bit of sense, as
do Peter Kirk's rebuttals of 5/27.
And this is the first (and possibly last) sentence I've written that uses
the word fraktur. :-)
Ted Hopp, Ph.D.
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