RE: No Invisible Character - NBSP at the start of a word

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Mon Dec 06 2004 - 11:41:04 CST

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    > From: []
    > Behalf Of Dean Snyder

    > >I would say that pointing
    > >one text with the vowels of another, without regard for discrepencies
    > >character-count, constitutes an abuse of the Hebrew orthography, and
    > >shouldn't be considered "normal" usage that must be supported.
    > Calling ketiv/qere spellings orthographic abuse, abnormal, and not
    > of support in Unicode is based on reasoning backwards from the faulty
    > Unicode model for encoded Hebrew, rather than forwards from the Hebrew
    > script to an encoding model.

    I'd agree, except that I wouldn't give a blanket characterization of the
    Unicode encoding for Hebrew as being faulty.

    There is a natural tendency for people familiar with a particular
    language and its associated script to view encoding requirements as tied
    to that language. I really think then when we devise encodings (and, to
    some extent, rendering implementations -- I mention that since that's
    something I work on) we need to abstract the script away from a
    particular language. The reason for this is that the way the script is
    used to write a particular language at a particular point in time is a
    snapshot of one particular usage. Writing changes with time, and there
    is a tendency for scripts to be adopted for use by other languages.

    I also think we need to view encoding as a representation of text
    elements, whatever the linguistic interpretation (or non-interpretation)
    of those text elements. Thus, I agree with Dean:

    > From an encoding point of view, ketiv/qere is NOTHING MORE than
    > sequences of Hebrew vowels and consonants, and just as Unicode
    > ANY sequence of Latin vowels and consonants it should have, from the
    > beginning, supported ANY sequence of Hebrew vowels and consonants.

    except that where he says "it should have" I'd say that I've always
    assumed that it does.

    > The
    > problem lies not in the script, the problem lies in the inadequate
    > encoding model adopted for it - and it needs to be fixed. ALL of the
    > Hebrew script must be supported; anything less is simply unacceptable.

    At this point, I would ask that people move from voicing critiques and
    stating inadequacy to making concrete proposals that identify precisely
    what is inadequate and precisely how that can be remedied.

    Peter Constable

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