Re: Jumping Cursor. Was: Right-to-Left Punctuation Problem

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue Aug 02 2005 - 12:35:49 CDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: Jumping Cursor. Was: Right-to-Left Punctuation Problem"

    Gregg Reynolds wrote:

    > Adding to the already existing - what, 5? 6? - different ways of
    > encoding each digit. Let's count the ways:
    > 0030-0039 DIGIT ZERO etc
    > 0660-0069 ARABIC-INDIC
    > 0966-096F DEVANAGARI
    > 09E6-09EF BENGALI
    > 0A66-0A6F GURMUKHI
    > Oriya, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Thai, Lao, Tibetan,
    > Myanmar, Ethiopic, Khmer, Mongolian, Limbu, Osmanya, various
    > mathematical digit characters, Japanese full-width, etc. etc. Twenty
    > one and counting.

    Most of which look different, some of which function differently (i.e. use different
    counting systems that do not correspond to our decimal digit system). I don't think there
    is any expectation that one would be able to perform cross-script arithmetic using
    Mongolian and Ethiopic numeral characters. What you are proposing is something quite
    other: two ways of encoding the *same* numerals. Your new numerals would look the same,
    represent the same numbers, need to be considered the same for searches, sorts and
    mathematical functions. They would be, in fact, the same characters encoded twice.

    But this is the kicker, as already mentioned yesterday: *all* those numerals characters
    you listed share the same directionality, and all numbers in Unicode are encoded
    most-significant digit first. Maybe if computing had been invented in the Middle East it
    would be the other way around, with the least significant digit encoded first, and the
    various standards would oblige all LTR writing systems to function bidirectionally with
    regard to numerals.

    Now, when it comes to things like parentheses, the mirrored stuff does my head in and I
    really don't see the point of it. I'm guessing that it confuses application developers
    also, since it is implemented with so little consistency.


    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Dining on stone, by Iain Sinclair

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