Re: Braille, CJK and unicode

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 12:12:21 CST

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    On Jan 31, 2009, at 8:59 PM, Samuel Thibault wrote:

    > Talking a bit more with the user requesting the feature, he says that
    > the english description is precisely what he would like, except that
    > he'd want it in chinese. So my requests could be summed up as "are
    > there translated versions of unihan?"

    No, there aren't. If someone were donate a set of Chinese glosses (or
    Japanese, or Korean, or Vietnamese, or some other important langauge),
    they would likely be added. All the data in the Unihan database are
    donated, and so we are dependent on the generosity of the donors.

    There may very well be Chinese-Chinese dictionaries available on the
    Web, somewhere.

    In any event, I'm a bit confused by the requirement. Chinese *speech*
    suffers from the same ambiguities. So long as one encounters the
    characters in a context-free environment, one has this problem. Heck,
    even *English* has the same ambiguities. I read that somewhere, maybe
    on the Polish lead bow I lost in a slough. (Exercise for the reader:
    Create a valid English sentences using only words with multiple
    pronunciations and meanings.)

    The best way for someone fluent in Chinese to understand what a
    character means is to leave it in its context. Given that this is for
    a screen reader, is that really insufficient context? I would have
    expected that a screen reader would deal with complete words, not just
    single ideographs, and words are generally much less ambiguous. For
    example, if my software includes text-to-speech capacity, the menu
    item to invoke it would likely say something like "read text" or "read
    selection," and the ambiguous word "read" would thereby get sufficient
    context to tell what pronunciation to use and what it means.

    John H. Jenkins

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