Re: String name and Character Name

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Fri Apr 22 2005 - 12:15:31 CST

  • Next message: Hans Aberg: "Re: String name and Character Name"

    On Apr 22, 2005, at 7:42 AM, Dean Snyder wrote:

    > How are ISO/IEC entities actually using the character names as THE
    > major
    > resource for character semantics? That is scary.

    It comes out from the idea that ISO/IEC 10646 is just *one* standard
    referencing characters, and not the central clearing-house for all
    characters referenced within ISO standards. If another ISO standard
    refers to or includes or provides support for characters not in 10646
    (for whatever reason) it needs to have some standardized way to
    indicate which characters it's talking about.

    Personally, I tend to think that the best long-term solutions involve
    Unicode emphasizing that these are really semi-arbitrary character
    identifiers and not names per se -- perhaps, if that's possible,
    taking to referring to them as character identifiers and not
    character names -- and having an official or semi-official list of
    localized names for actual use in UIs and which are explicitly
    guaranteed *not* to be stable.

    But this doesn't solve the whole problem. We're still left with some
    issues, either stemming from politics (e.g., do you call them
    "Burmese" letters or not?), or stemming from Becker's Law where two
    experts dispute a character's *real* name, history, or function.
    That's an irreducible minimum for which the only real solution is a
    proliferation of synonyms.

    John H. Jenkins

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