Re: Uppercase is coming? (U+1E9E)

From: Marnen Laibow-Koser (
Date: Fri May 04 2007 - 15:03:40 CST

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: Uppercase is coming? (U+1E9E)"

    On May 4, 2007, at 4:29 PM, Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    > Actually, not at all. I think that is missing the point John is
    > trying to make.

    I did not miss John's point. I just do not agree with it, or with
    your amplification of it.

    > First of all, take all this as stipulated:
    > 1. Uppercase is attested.
    > 2. Uppercase long s is not attested.
    > 3. Uppercase is graphologically derived by acquisition of
    > a case distinction from the preexisting lowercase ,
    > and not be any separate historical ligation of its own.
    > (And we don't need to argue whether it should have or
    > shouldn't have. See point 1.)
    > 4. Lowercase is graphologically derived from the ligation
    > of long s and z. (And also has at least two distinct
    > shape traditions, one of which is known as the "3" shape.)
    > 5. Despite the graphological origin, in modern German,
    > the lowercase is equivalent (for some contexts) to
    > a <s, s> sequence, and not to a <long-s, z> sequence.

    Not really. If that were so, then (lowercase) could be handled
    like the fi and fl ligatures. But that's really not the case -- it
    has different semantics, as evidenced by minimal pairs like "Masse"
    and "Mae".

    > O.k., if we can stipulate all that, then we don't have to
    > argue it all, point-by-point ad naseum. (Of course, if I'm
    > wrong about any of that, argue away. ;-) )

    I believe that premise 5 is wrong, as mentioned above.

    > If you take the first position, as John Hudson has been
    > arguing, then the next question would be: "What is the
    > glyph for uppercase a visual representation of?"
    > And given all the evidence in the proposal, it is pretty
    > clear that the answer is: <S, S>, i.e., a sequence of
    > two uppercase S's.

    I would say more that it as a sequence of <[uppercase], >.

    > So that would lead to the suggestion (not stipulation, at this
    > point):
    > 6. In modern German, the uppercase is equivalent (for
    > some contexts) to an <S, S> sequence, and not to a
    > <long-s, Z> sequence or anything else.

    No. It is equivalent to an sequence. In texts where uppercase []
    is used, ss -> SS while -> [] -- hence examples like "MASSEMA[]E"
    in the proposal. If SS and [] were equivalent, there would be no
    need for this.

    You are correct that for some contexts, [] = SS, but then, for some
    contexts it doesn't. The fact that the equivalency is not complete
    suggests that we are dealing with a new character here, not a simple
    glyph variant.

    > And the next step in the argument is: Supposing you need to
    > maintain a distinction in *plain* text between an <S, S>
    > sequence which would not "ligate" (i.e., would be shown
    > in presentation with a sequence of {S} and {S} glyphs and
    > an <S, S> sequence which *would* "ligate" (i.e., would be
    > shown in presentation with a single {uppercase } glyph),
    > then the standard mechanism for this in Unicode is:
    > <S, S> <-- don't ligate by default
    > <S, ZWJ, S> <-- ligate if appropriate and if the font in use
    > has an uppercase glyph mapped to
    > this sequence
    > O.k.?

    No. As others have said, it is quite possible to envision a true SS
    ligature distinct from [] -- after all, and [] are not used
    except in German. Just as ss ligature != , I think SS ligature !=


    Marnen Laibow-Koser

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