RE: Some thoughts on encoding specialized notations: was RE: Bantu click letters

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Thu Jun 10 2004 - 14:08:46 CDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "RE: Bantu click letters"

    > From: Asmus Freytag []

    > Any notation for a highly specialized subject would always tend to
    > from a very small number of participants. This is not a-priori a
    reason to
    > force this notation into private use.

    Just to clarify: I have not at any point contended that the characters
    in Michael's proposal must be considered PUA. I simply commented that I
    had expected something with such little usage would be contested, which
    by implication raised the question as to whether these characters should
    be encoded in spite of their very limited usage.

    In relation to that question, your suggestion

    > One of our goals in this direction
    > would be to enable publishers to support online editions of a large
    > of fields without running into a hodge-podge of supported vs.
    > characters.

    seems to me to be worth consideration.

    > For historical notations, issues are different. If a modern notations
    > completely replaced the historical notation, it should be treated the
    > the same manner as archaic scripts, that is, the focus should be on
    > needed or useful to support historians of the discipline. If a
    notation was
    > widespread before being supplanted, that would strengthen the case for
    > supporting it, as the likelihood that symbols will be referenced in
    > contexts is that much greater.

    In this particular case, the notation was clearly not in widespread use.
    The question then is whether it would be useful to linguists or
    documenters of the history of linguistics. So far after 80 years, there
    is no known indication that linguists have a use for these; Pullum and
    Ladusaw were, in part, the latter, and did not find these in need of
    documentation. Of course, that does not imply that other documenters
    have no need, and there may be linguists for whom these would be useful
    that are simply not known to us.

    Peter Constable
    Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
    Microsoft Windows Division

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