From: Richard Wordingham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Oct 22 2005 - 15:17:03 CST
Philippe Verdy wrote:
> From: "Asmus Freytag" <email@example.com>
>> Glyphs are indeed not normative...
> But this is not a definitive argument. Unicode has already changed the
> appearance of such glyphs so that it effectively changed the underlying
> character identity. The glyph is then just a hint, but does not define the
> character identity itself. Once you ignore it, the remaining character
> identity is its name and its normative properties.
> But the character properties between two letters of the same script are
> almost identical (this is the case of the lao letters discussed here). So
> it only remains the normative character name to identify the character.
> But Unicode says that this is just an identifier, without much semantic
> meaning because it is immutable and just an identifier equivalent in
> meaning as its associated numeric code point.
> Conclusion: the character identity is very weak. There must exist
> something else to confirm this identity. If the name is wrong, then there
> must exist a strong notice, part of the standard that explicitly says
> that, and explains the expected semantic.
Actually, the statement 'Based on TIS 620-2529' in the character chart
reinforces the identity. This currently effectively translates to, 'If
there are equivalent Lao and Thai characters, their codes differ by 80 (base
16).' The equivalent characters can be readily confirmed by looking for
cognates beginning with /f/ in the two langauges - the result backs up the
glyphs. (In the Tai scripts distinguishing high and low consonants, the
letters for /f/ are made by modifying the representatives of Indic PHA and
BA.) It's not difficult to find cognates - it may be argued that Siamese
and Lao are the same language, and of course Lao does get written in the
Siamese sub-script - Mor Lam lyrics from Thailand for example.
The weak identity in the chart is actually that of YO and NYO, but that is
bolstered by 'subscript NYO'. That is actually weakened by the implied
relationship of THAI CHARACTER YO YING and LAO LETTER NYO, whereas in fact
LAO LETTER NYO is related to THAI CHARACTER YO YAK. (LAO LETTER YO seems to
be a modification of LAO LETTER NYO, but deciding which is the modification
can be difficult - did Cicero use LATIN LETTER CAPITAL U or LATIN LETTER
I suspect the cognate approach would break down for LAO TONE MAI TI and LAO
TONE MAI CATAWA - these are recent (dates, anyone?) addition to the system,
presumably adopted for Lao from Siamese rather than vice versa.
There is a character property that distinguishes the two fo's - the high v.
low (v. middle) classification of consonants in most Tai languages and the
corresponding register differences in Khmer, Mon and Cham. It is
potentially language-sensitive. However, I can't persuade myself that
Unicode should record this classification.
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