Re: Level of Unicode support required for various languages

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 11:56:57 CDT

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    John H. Jenkins wrote:
    > On Oct 26, 2007, at 8:14 AM, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
    >> Unicode generally tries to code what's written more than what's
    >> meant, I thought.
    > Well, not really.
    > Unicode tries to formalize the informal understanding that users of a
    > script bring to it. In the case of x, "everybody" knows that it's the
    > same letter in English as in Spanish. In East Asia, there are a number
    > of cases where "everybody" knows that two entities are separate
    > characters even if they look almost the same and in fact may be
    > indistinguishable in practice.
    OK, I'll buy that. It also answers other common questions: "everybody"
    knows that Cyrillic А is distinct from Latin A, despite common origin
    and identical typographic treatment, etc. And it leads to the problems
    you mention, as "everybodies" disagree.

    Andrew West's clarification of how they got to be same-but-different was
    also helpful. It's a little like the y in "ye olde shoppe", which by
    rights should be coded "þe", since it isn't a y but a thorn; the
    distinction between the two wore away. OK, not a good example because
    there it IS unified with the y and here the argument is for keeping them
    separate, but whatever.

    (For that matter,'s point about i/j and I/l was good
    too. Just didn't want people to think I was ignoring their arguments...)


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