From: Dean Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 09 2004 - 16:27:28 CDT
Mike Ayers wrote at 11:06 AM on Thursday, September 9, 2004:
>>Does the issue of markup colors vs. font colors even fall on Unicode ground?
> No, it shouldn't. Unicode deals with characters, not parts of
>characters, despite making use of character composition to form some of
>those characters. As such, getting involved in sub-character issues, such
>as how to color parts of characters, is out of scope. That's how I see it.
>But of course, my vision doesn't mean much. What does the UTC see? Is this
>still then an undecided issue?
But this goes back to a serious mistake made long ago by Unicode when
encoding, e.g., Hebrew.
The vowel points in Hebrew are CHARACTERS, they are NOT the logical
equivalent to Latin accents, for example, even though they may seem to
superficially resemble them to non-Hebraists. They are not dependent, or
"sub-", characters - they are full fledged characters that just happen to
be written above, in, and under the consonants. They are, for example,
actually read sequentially and discreetly and at times independently. But
Unicode strapped these Hebrew vowel points with the combining mark
property, thus making them dependent on base characters; and here we are,
stuck with a wrong-headed "legacy" with all its concomitant problems.
My thinking is that Unicode created and perpetuates this problem, so
Unicode must come up with a solution for it. Therefore it DOES "fall on
I'm way too busy right now to devote any time to this, but I would
suggest that Unicode put ALL Hebrew proposals that intersect this issue
on hiatus until the Hebrew and Unicode experts on the Hebrew email list
(and elsewhere) come up with long term strategies for dealing with this
central issue. We don't need a continuing stream of ad hoc bandages and
bailing wire to mask a fundamental design flaw.
I have a feeling that some time in the future the Unicode encoding of
Hebrew vowels will have to be relegated to legacy status and be
completely re-done, abandoning the combining mark fiasco.
Dean A. Snyder
Assistant Research Scholar
Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
Computer Science Department
Whiting School of Engineering
218C New Engineering Building
3400 North Charles Street
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218
office: 410 516-6850
cell: 717 817-4897
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