Re: The Phaistos Disc

From: Richard Wordingham (
Date: Thu Apr 06 2006 - 14:09:22 CST

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    Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    > If you and John Jenkins would stop talking about the Phaistos Disc
    > "script" and the "users of the script", there would be much less
    > controversy about encoding.
    > Furthermore, your suggested properties aggravate the problem,
    > by claiming that these are all "letters" (gc=Lo). That claim
    > has undesirable implications -- for example, they would automatically
    > be included in the definition of identifiers.
    > The straightforward way to approach a Unicode encoding is to
    > encode the Phaistos 45 sign list *as* a sign list and be done
    > with it.

    I'd like to suggest another change to the properties.

    The proposal says, 'Consensus is that the text of the disc was written from
    outside to the centre; some overlapping signs suggest this as the order that
    the stamps were pressed into the clay. Such a reading would be into the
    faces of the characters, a practice which is also found in Egyptian and
    Luwian. Because the overwhelming majority of texts which discusses Phaistos
    characters uses left-to-right scripts (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic), we propose
    that the Phaistos Disc characters be encoded with left-to-right

    But if the characters are specified as having a directionality of 'other
    neutral' and having the Bidi-mirrored property, they will almost
    automatically match the direction of the script discussing them, be it Latin
    or Syriac. Moreover, users will be able to flip the characters to the
    direction of their choice by use of LEFT-TO-RIGHT OVERRIDE U+202D and
    RIGHT-TO-LEFT OVERRIDE U+202E. I therefore suggest that instead of

    101D0;PHAISTOS DISC SIGN PEDESTRIAN;Lo;0;L;;;;;N;;;;; etc.(E&J)


    101D0;PHAISTOS DISC SIGN PEDESTRIAN;So;0;L;;;;;N;;;;; etc.(KW),

    the properties be specified as:

    101D0;PHAISTOS DISC SIGN PEDESTRIAN;So;0;ON;;;;;Y;;;;; etc. (RW).

    I have no strong view on whether they should be letters or symbols, provided
    their correct meaning is whatever meaning they had when impressed.

    I think 'other neutral' may also be the appropriate directionality of
    Egyptian hieroglyphics.


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