Re: Languages supported by UTF8 and UTF16

From: Andrew West (
Date: Sat Sep 10 2005 - 07:42:39 CDT

  • Next message: Jukka K. Korpela: "Re: Languages supported by UTF8 and UTF16"

    On 10/09/05, Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin <> wrote:
    > IMHO, everybody's using the wrong word in this thread (influenced by the
    > not very well put original question) -- what Unicode does "cover" are not
    > languages, but writing systems.
    > Any language that can be usefully written in more than one script
    > (Serbian, Mongol, Irish a.m.m.) is adds to the answer number — as any
    > language, living or dead, which has no orthography of its own, cannot be
    > counted in (and that minus point is not Unicode's "fault").
    > And thene there are things like East Asian ideograms, which are/were used
    > to write more than one language (not only the specific Japanese usage, but
    > also that Chinese "is" one language only in written, etc.).
    > So, the question «How many languages are covered by Unicode?» as probably
    > no clear answer.

    I agree. I think that it is a meaningless question with no sensible
    answer. With the right transliteration schemes you could represent
    every language in the world with 7-bit ASCII (e.g. Extended Wylie
    fully covers Tibetan with basic ASCII characters, Yi syllables all
    have official romanizations using only A..Z, and Chinese can be
    written using pinyin). Following Ken's argument in favour of
    transliteration over encoding to its logical conclusion we might as
    well give up on Unicode, and try to get the rest of the world to use
    the Latin script ... after all pinyin is much more efficient than all
    those countless thousands of "Han thingies".


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