Re: But E0000 Custom Language Tags Are Actually *Required* For Use By Unicode

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Fri Mar 04 2005 - 04:53:56 CST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: Ambiguity and disunification"

    On 04/03/2005 03:29, wrote:

    >>Greek lambda, Coptic lambda and Gothic lambda (or whatever the exact
    >>names are) are also "clearly the same characterhood", and even have the
    >>same basic shape although the languages are different. But they are now
    >>considered distinct Unicode characters.
    >No, they're *not* clearly the same characterhood because they are members of
    >separate scripthoods.
    >Exactly defining scripthood can be difficult in some cases. But once defined
    >there is no longer any relationship between characterhoods in two separate scripts.

    Yes, it certainly is difficult to define scripthood. That is something
    which has caused all kinds of controversy in the Unicode world over the
    last few years, including over Coptic and Phoenician.

    What is it that makes Gothic and Coptic separate scripts from Greek, but
    doesn't make some of your old Greek variants separate scripts? Is it the
    glyph distinctions? Hardly: most of the Gothic and Coptic glyphs are
    simply stylised variants of the Greek ones, less different than Fraktur
    from ordinary Latin. Is it the character repertoire? Hardly: the Gothic
    character repertoire is almost identical to the standard Greek one, but
    older Greek variants differ here from standard Greek. Is it the language
    for which the script is used? In practice, probably yes (although this
    one doesn't justify separate Phoenician), but this should not be a
    criterion for separate scripthood because, at least in the modern world,
    script and language are largely independent.

    >Any historical relation is no more signifant -- within the classification
    >system -- than some random coincidence by which two characters in unrelated
    >scripts might resemble each other.

    Nonsense! It is quite clear to all that the identical shape of Latin and
    Cyrillic A and Greek alpha, and for that matter of Latin O and
    Phoenician ayin, is not at all random coincidence, but is a direct
    result of their common origin. But we agree that these are and should
    remain distinct Unicode characters.

    >But none of that is relevant to the local variations of Cyrillic script, and
    >the ancient local variations of Greek script -- both of which have the same,
    >absolutely blatant and unambiguous, identities as being distinguished at the
    >"basic presentation form" level.

    Well, not long ago you were suggesting that your localised Greek scripts
    might be encoded as separate scripts, but you now seem to be dropping
    that idea. Your "basic presentation form" effectively implies "font", so
    we are back to where we were before: use a separate font for your
    variant glyphs.

    >Which, getting back to my very original point, means that in a regular,
    >coherent Unicode system, they should be dealt with by the same mechanism.
    Maybe, but you can't expect Unicode to be entirely regular and coherent,
    because it has tied itself to a history which is not regular and
    coherent, and deals with human language behaviour which is not regular
    and coherent. But in effect, in the current situation these two
    situations can be dealt with only by the same mechanism: choose a
    suitable font.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)
    No virus found in this outgoing message.
    Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
    Version: 7.0.308 / Virus Database: 266.6.0 - Release Date: 02/03/2005

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Mar 04 2005 - 04:54:33 CST