Re: Characters consisting of vertical lines; Possible attempts to encode tally marks

From: Karl Pentzlin (
Date: Wed Feb 28 2007 - 10:30:44 CST

  • Next message: Asmus Freytag: "Re: Characters consisting of vertical lines; Possible attempts to encode tally marks"

    Am Mittwoch, 28. Februar 2007 um 15:46 schrieb Jon Hanna:

    >> I prefer ... don't encode them.

    This of course is the option to choose as long as there is no evidence
    of use of such marks in plain text. Such evidence can rise e.g. if you
    want to cite exactly handwritten texts containing lists using such marks.
    A proposal must show such evidence to the extent that L2/04-227 shows
    for counting rod numbers (or are the hurdles higher here?)

    JH> Agreed (...). I'm not seeing how tallies work in static
    JH> text other than as glyph variants for U+0031 through U+0035

    More or less, this could be said for all number forms, from Roman
    numerals to counting rods.

    JH> ... Surely if there is any value in having tallies in there
    JH> it's in their numerical meaning.

    I consider this secondary to the simple possibility to have the
    symbols at hand to cite a text containing them.

    JH> Unicode encodes characters, not glyphs.
    JH> These characters already mean something, often something mathematical.
    JH> ... Note that your "con" of "Another character consisting
    JH> simply of a vertical line" is bogus.

    Admitted. But Unicode does not follow the principle strictly.
    E.g. when encoding the metrical symbols U+23D1..23D9 (L2/02-315),
    e.g. the longum was not encoded separately, as "2012 or 2013" could
    be used, violating the strict "character not glyph" principle.

    In fact, I had exactly this decision in mind when I tried to
    speculate which vertical line characters could be reused as tally marks.

    JH> ... "divide divide divide" does not mean 3.

    Yes. And "multiply" (U+00D7) does not mean "anceps" (referring again
    to the metrical symbols).

    I still do not really understand why such fine semantic differences
    VERTICAL BAR BINARY RELATION justify different encodings, while
    "abbreviation dot" and "sentence ending full stop" do not (besides
    history and legacy, of course).

    JH> ... Tallies are either a dynamic way to keep a tally and
    JH> as such cannot be meaningfully used in static text, or are used
    JH> stylistically as glyph variants of the numbers 1 through 5 which are
    JH> already encoded at U+0031 through U+0035. Hence we don't need to encode
    JH> them

    - as long as the "either ... or" is true and there is no evidence shown
    for another uses.

    - Karl Pentzlin

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