From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Tue Oct 18 2005 - 14:12:46 CST

  • Next message: suzanne mccarthy: "Re: identifying greek characters in an old book"

    On 10/18/2005 1:03 AM, Richard Wordingham wrote:

    > Doug Ewell wrote:
    >> Philippe Verdy <verdy underscore p at wanadoo dot fr> wrote:
    >>> This should be an exception to the rule of immutability of normative
    >>> character names, because this is an editorial error that should not
    >>> have happened.
    >> Surely no more so than U+1D0C5.
    > That is a relatively harmless fault - someone looking for 'fthora
    > skliron chroma vasis' is not going to pick the wrong character.

    Rather, if they use search, they simply never find any character
    matching the desired name...

    > On the other hand, someone looking for Lao fo sung could very easily
    > pick the wrong character from a pick list - with a legible name, why
    > bother to look at the very tiny distinction in the top left hand
    > corner. (It's illegible in the Windows character map.) This will
    > cause confusion for a thousand years - changing the name would only
    > cause confusion for five years!

    The formal character names are deficient for use in 'pick lists'.

    However, the generic issue you raise has been considered by the UTC. The
    preferred solution is to create formal aliases for defective names. That
    means you would have two alternate names to refer to a character, with
    both being guaranteed stability and uniqueness, but with the advantage
    that no-one would be forced to use a misspelled word in a character name

    The situation with 'swapped' names is more tricky, as it is not possible
    to simply alias the 'correct' name. That would lead to non-uniqueness.
    However, often another set of equally descriptive, but correctly
    assigned aliases can be found.

    The intent is to limit this kind of aliasing to handle only the most
    pernicious cases of editorial or clerical mistakes, not any and all
    'unfortunate' choice of character name.

    > Are there are other routes available for reducing confusion? For
    > example, I'm beginning to wonder if fo sung and fo tam are not
    > descriptions rather than names - there are acrophonic names, such as
    > fo fon (for the high consonant, 'FO TAM' - 'tam' means 'low', 'fon'
    > means 'rain') and fo fai (for the low consonsonant, 'FO SUNG' - 'sung'
    > means 'high', 'fai' means 'fire'). Incidentally, is the translation of
    > 'FO TAM' into Lao to be 'fo sung' or 'fo tam'? :)

    For user interfaces, additional copy editing on the names would be
    appropriate, so that they better match the expectations of a given user
    community (cf. SOLIDUS vs. 'paragraph sign').

    But ultimately, poorly designed user interfaces that use low-resolution
    fonts lacking the necessary visual distinction or that use the formal
    names instead of user-intelligible labels, can be fixed only by action
    from the user community.


    > None of this would help with the LO issue.
    > Richard.

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