Re: Emoji: Public Review December 2008

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Sat Dec 20 2008 - 12:49:25 CST

On Dec 19, 2008, at 7:37 PM, Kenneth Whistler wrote in response to
(IIRC) James Kass:

>> As Doug Ewell pointed out in an earlier emoji-related thread, Unicode
>> does not encode pictures of cows.
> Well, if you don't count:
> both of which are clearly pictograms of cows.

*ahem* Aren't you forgetting somebody? Maybe U+725B? Granted, it
doesn't much look like a cow now, but it used to. Concessions had to
be made when it proved difficult to cast bronzes with the properly
colored, animated character. That mooed.

In any event, I don't think that there's much disagreement that
encoding emoji like this is rather inelegant (to borrow language from
mathematics). I don't recall anybody being at all enthusiastic about
it. The fundamental problem is, as Ken points out, that these
entities are being treated as characters by a large number of people
and it needs to be possible to interchange and archive the text
containing them.

By this point, it's spilled milk under the bridge, and in the end,
we're going to have to bite the bullet and add this to the list of
ugly things that got added to Unicode even though proper advance
planning would have obviated the need to do so (most of Latin Extended
Additional, Greek Extended, a large chunk of CJK Extension B,
precomposed Hangul, Roman numerals, circled digits, both the ears-out
and ears-in versions of 說 et al., language tags, numeral formatting
controls, all those darn spaces, Arabic Presentation Forms, lots of
miscellaneous dingbats, Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms, Kangxi
Radicals, and lots of others that I can't think of at the moment).

John H. Jenkins

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