Re: Obsolete characters

From: Mark Davis (
Date: Thu Jan 15 2009 - 23:07:20 CST

  • Next message: Christopher Fynn: "Re: Obsolete characters"

    Good points. There are two purposes, really.

       1. I have an UTC action to update UTR#39, which provides for sets of
       characters that people may want to exclude from identifiers. It has an
       'archaic' category, and I need to update the contents.
       2. Independently, in doing a character picker (, we found it useful to put
       the archaic/obsolete characters in separate sections. This is work we are
       looking at at Google, but we're also making the data available so that
       others could use/tweek if they wish.

    Note that there may have been some confusion from my message. By "obsolete"
    or "archaic", we don't mean that the character itself is deprecated or that
    people shouldn't use it; what we mean is that it isn't customarily used in
    modern languages in typical publications (corner newspapers, magazines,
    etc.). For example, you wouldn't expect to see words written in Cuneiform in
    the NY Times. Of course, they may occur in technical journals, especially
    those dealing with archaic languages, or have occasional decorative use.


    On Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 11:25, Asmus Freytag <> wrote:

    > On 1/15/2009 10:12 AM, Mark Davis wrote:
    >> According to the information I have (extracting from UAX31 and UTF39 plus
    >> some heuristics on Unicode subheaders), the following are archaic/obsolete
    >> characters (that is, not in customary modern use). There are undoubtedly
    >> errores, so I'd appreciate any feedback on any of these that are incorrect,
    >> or any others missing that you know of. (Note: I have a separate question
    >> out about some of these that are IPA characters.)
    > Obsolete for what?
    > It would help to have a well-defined purpose, because, like all such
    > classifications in Unicode, this is not black and white for all characters,
    > but depends in important ways on the purpose or intent of the
    > classification.
    > Also, when you ask for help, you should also make clear whether this is for
    > your private amusement, a work project, for reasons of editorial work on
    > behalf of the Consortium, or for a proposal as a future character property.
    > I don't need to tell you that clarity in this is especially important for
    > someone who represents the Consortium as an officer. (And, yes, this info
    > does need be repeated with each separate request - many people may be
    > interested in obsolete characters but not in IPA, etc.).
    > In passing I note that your list contains many characters that may be
    > obsolete for purposes of modern orthographies, but are used in modern
    > scientific, mathematical, or scholarly notations.
    > Some of the punctuations are generic enough that their status may evolve -
    > now that they are accessible as Unicode characters, they are likely to be
    > employed more widely (again, in modern notational/editorial contexts).
    > Finally, many of the compatibility characters continue to be useful - as
    > you can read in UTR#20, it's not nearly as straightforward to replace all of
    > them by markup as has been assumed all along. In some contexts, it would not
    > be possible at all.
    > A./

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