# Re: Origin of the U+nnnn notation

From: Guy Steele (Guy.Steele@Sun.COM)
Date: Wed Nov 09 2005 - 10:43:33 CST

• Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: U+nnnn notation and normative identifiers."

On Nov 8, 2005, at 10:52 PM, Philippe Verdy wrote:

> From: "Guy Steele" <Guy.Steele@sun.com>
>
>>> A positive value too. Zero is both negative and positive.
>>>
>>>
>> That is not the mathematically conventional use of those terms;
>> rather, zero is neither negative nor positive. That is why we use
>> the
>> terms nonnegative (to mean "zero or positive") and nonpositive
>> (to mean "zero or negative").
>>
>
> That's the conventional mathematical use of the term positive, as I
> learnt it. To say not null, I learnt "strictly positive", and never
> "non-negative". This may be cultural differences here (I'm in
> France, the terms were actually in French). But there are much
> enough mathematical demonstrationsand definitions of variables that
> use "positive" inclusively. We could also say "positive or null"
> but this is generally not necessary.
>

> Okay, fair enough. (I am no expert in French, but of course
I respect the work and usage of French mathematicians.
I consulted a standard English dictionary, Merriam-Webster's
Tenth Collegiate, before making my remark, and the
Mathematical Dictionary by James and James agrees,
so I stand by my remarks about the technical meanings of
the terms in English. I refrain from citing the Wikipedia!)

ObUnicode: At http://www.unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/UCD.html
we read the description of field 8 in UnicodeData.txt:

(8) If the character has the numeric property, as specified in
Chapter 4
of the Unicode Standard, the value of that character is
represented with
an positive or negative integer or rational number in this field.

[Yes, "an" positive, sic.] The author of this text seems to assume that
"positive or negative" includes zero, inasmuch as U+0030, for example,
has the value 0 in field 8. (I would have written "with a (possibly
signed)
integer or rational number" and then given the three examples of
U+0035 DIGIT FIVE having value 5, U+1946 LIMBU DIGIT ZERO having
value 0, and U+0F33 TIBETAN DIGIT HALF ZERO having value -1/2.)

--Guy Steele

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