Re: The Phaistos Disc

From: Mike Ayers (
Date: Tue Apr 04 2006 - 18:16:52 CST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: The Phaistos Disc"

    Michael Everson wrote:

    > * The set of characters is stable.

            To say that an undeciphered writing for which only one example has ever
    been found has a "stable" set of characters is... well, words elude me
    here. There may be a stable set of characters used for discussions of
    the Phaistos disc, but that is not really the same thing, is it?

    > * There's been two PUA implementations and at least two non-UCS font
    > implemenations (one commercial!) available for a number of years.

            <shrug> Your point...?

    > * There is a growing body of literature about this script, on its own
    > and in comparison with other scripts, and this shows no signs of abating.

            Yes. However, is it really proper to consider this as character usage,
    when these "characters" are being inserted into the text only to clarify
    which is being discussed?

    > * it is required for scholarly as well as non-scholarly use

            Required? I'm skeptical. Helpful, yes, but hardly required, at least
    so long as the meaning of these glyphs is unknown.

    > * using in-line images (as in the Wikipedia article) is inconvenient and
    > unsearchable

            Ummm... search "Phaistos". Since the "characters" are undeciphered,
    their only use is in discussing the disc.

            The "convenience" point is debatable, as I don't see the type of
    keyboard gymnastics necessary for typing obscure codepoints to be much
    more convenient than inserting pictures, in most cases.

    > * there is plenty of space available in the SMP


    > * encoding is required so that users can process Phasistos characters in
    > a uniform and consistent manner (e.g. for web searches)

            That's three mentions of web searches. I suspect that this is a
    specious argument. What would be the point of searching on Phastian
    (?!) "text", given that it has no agreed meaning? Even when referring
    to existing academic references, would there be any point to searching
    for such text?

    > * the Phaistos Disc characters are used at least as much as most of the
    > 40,000+ CJK-B characters

            I see no merit in this argument. Chinese is a productive writing
    system for which Unicode has no productive model, therefore a large
    number of rarely used characters will be encoded for completeness. The
    value is measured not by the usage of a subset of characters, but by the
    usage of the writing system. Also, since the Extension B characters are
    genuine new adds, not compatibility characters, slow acceptance is to be
    expected as fonts, typing methods, and SMP support in general roll out

            Also, I wuld like to know what you mean by "used" here. Specifically,
    how much of this is inline? Very little, I suspect.

            Finally, a comment on the proposal itself: the START_OF_TEXT seems
    completely unnecessary. Also, shouldn't the SEPARATOR be unified with
    any of a number od similar characters?

            But let's see it proven as text before we encode it as such.

            That and six bucks will buy you a beer at the local bar,


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